Herridge claims maiden ARC win
- 16th July 2006, 3:49pm
Popular privateer Dean Herridge has taken his first ever NEC Australian Rally Championship round win at the Subaru Safari Tasmania today, an achievement that has eluded him despite his success in international rallies and as a former factpry-supported driver for Subaru.
Today is Herridge's first NEC ARC round win of his career, and the first time that a manufacturer other than Toyota has won a round of the Super Series in 2006. West Australian Herridge and co-driver Bill Hayes, driving a Subaru WRX Sti, are also the first privateer entrants to win a round of the NEC ARC this year.
"I've worked for a long time to achieve this, and to not only win my first ARC heat but also my first round here in Tassie has just been amazing!" Herridge said. "I've certainly had to dig pretty deep this year as a privateer, but I'm very passionate about the sport and my family has been involved in it for a long time, so its nice to be able to win at this level."
Herridge finished third in today's heat but on combined points he claimed the overall round win courtesy of his heat win yesterday. Today's second heat belonged to Mitsubishi's Scott Pedder, who made up for a disastrous early retirement yesterday to win the heat by 16.7 seconds from Toyota's Simon Evans. Pedder, who won five of the day's ten stages, admitted that he was taking more risks in an effort to make up for the team's poor performance yesterday.
"Today is all about proving that we have a car and tyre combination that has the potential to win rallies," Pedder said. "Our car has been fast all year and we've shown today that when luck's on our side we have a rally-winning package.
"The championship is not over by a long way, and anything could happen so we just need to keep pressing on."
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Simon Evans took a calm and cautious approach to today's heat.
“As much as part of me wanted to see if I could match it with Pedder, my team kept reminding me about our championship aspirations, so I focused on keeping the car out of trouble and making it to the finish line." Evans said.
Despite his runner-up finish in Tasmania Evans has extended his championship lead to 19 points from Toyota team mate Neal Bates. Dean Herridge remains in third, 8 points behind Bates.
During the day's early stages privateer Darren Windus took the battle for fourth up to Neal Bates, but several punctures dropped Windus down the order to eighth by day's end. Factory Ford driver Michael Guest was one of many competitors who struggled for grip in the wet and slippery sections of road, caused by overnight rain in the Huon Valley area.
"When I woke up this morning and I saw it was raining I knew that today would be an absolute nightmare for us and so far it's pretty much gone that way," said Guest, referring to a spin and several punctures that slowed his Ford Focus.
Young Victorian Will Orders finished 5th outright ahead of sixth placed Stewart Reid and took top honours in the BP Ultimate Challenge ahead of local driver Simon Jansen, who placed 7th outright.
Windus, John Murray Junior and Brendan Reeves filled the remaining top ten placings.
The series now heads to South Australia for the fifth round of the championship, Toyota Rally SA from August 19-21st. The Subaru Safari Tasmania is the fourth round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship.
Results: Heat 2
1. Scott Pedder (Mitsubishi) 56m28.2s
2. Simon Evans (Toyota) +16.7s
3. Dean Herridge (Subaru) +37.2s
4. Neal Bates (Toyota) +53.5s
5. Will Orders (Subaru) +2m47.2s
OVERALL ROUND- SUBARU SAFARI TASMANIA
1. D.Herridge/B.Hayes (Subaru) 34 points
2. S.Evans/S.Evans (Toyota) 33
3. N.Bates/C.Taylor (Toyota) 28
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