Team BK’s Brenton Kaitler has arrived back into the Australian Rally Championship with a bang after finishing an impressive equal third outright on his tarmac debut at last weekend’s Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge.

Co-driven by the experienced John Allen, Kaitler immediately impressed by setting third-fastest time on the opening 17 kilometre Hellyer Gorge stage. A time of 9m29.1s was faster than all of the unrestricted tarmac rally cars, driven by the likes of Tony Longhurst and Jim Richards. These cars featured in the non-ARC component of the event and pre-event expectations were that they would be faster than the ARC cars.

“We tested at the new Haunted Hills hillclimb circuit, in addition to official testing on Wednesday, so we had a good chance to get to grips with this car on tarmac before the event,” Kaitler said.
“Jeff (Beaumont from TECH///SPORT) and Jamie (Drummond from DMS) provided a lot of assistance in terms of set-up, which allowed us to be on the pace from the first stage. In addition, despite most of our rivals using a WRC tarmac tyre, we showed that Yokohama’s ‘R’ spec tyres are more than capable of performing amazingly well.”

Day 2 almost saw Team BK set their first outright stage win, again on the Hellyer Gorge stage, but for a spin halfway through. Around 20 seconds were spent recovering, bumping the team down to seventh outright for the stage, their worst stage result of the weekend.

The twisting Tasmanian roads caught out some of Kaitler’s fellow Mitsubishi drivers, with Spencer Lowndes, Justin Dowel and Dennis Dunlop encountering problems along the way. Unfortunately for Lowndes, a heavy impact on the final stage cost him a definite second placing whilst challenging for the lead.

This promoted both Team BK and the Raymond Partners Accountants team of Glen and Matt Raymond to equal third outright for the rally.

“Well done to Glen on a great drive,” added Kaitler. “We had a tough fight on Saturday and narrowly won, but he got the edge on Sunday, beating us by 10 seconds in a great battle.”
Sunday’s final stage was a thriller, with Les Walkden Rallying’s Michael Guest on a charge. Over the final 19 kilometre test, Team BK finished 1.6 seconds ahead, claiming fifth outright for the Heat, and third outright for the rally.
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