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The Buccini Transport-sponsored Lancer Evo 6 of Peter Kahler and Claire Buccini suffered a frustrating weekend at the P3 Solutions Benarkin Rally last weekend, the final round of the MRF Tyres Queensland Rally Championship.

After a quick and successful transition into the newly acquired 4WD rally car, the team was keen to justify their car four starting position and hopeful of backing up their podium position from the recent Border Ranges Rally.
Kahler admitted to butterflies aplenty at the start of stage one, surrounded by Queensland hot-shots Ryan Smart, Ian Menzies, Kent Lawrence and Marius Swart …… no pressure!
Team Kahler/Buccini was unfortunately the only crew to encounter bad cattle all over the road, not once but twice.

The first encounter had the crew dawdling behind a group of cows with the horn sounding as they sauntered down the middle of the road. Not a happy driver, but still emerging with a cracking top five stage time.

The second mob were the most scary – encountering the beasts around a long sweeping right corner at 140km/h and having cows all over the road! Peter managed to throw the car sideways in the hope that an opening would appear … and at the last moment snuck through a car-sized gap that opened up as the cows embarrassed themselves all over the road, and scattered in all directions.

The second stage was better, but that is where the fuel pump started to play up above 5000rpm in all gears. Peter drove the stage in higher gears in an effort to keep up momentum and limit the revs. As a result, the driver was caught out near the finish by a left hand bend, carrying too much speed and drifting out into the right spoon drain.

Two flat tyres on the driver’s side was the unfortunate result. Limping back to the fuel stop service break meant the crew had to change the tyres themselves. The result, however, was an equal third with Marius Swart on that stage – Smart and Menzies being the quickest.

The third stage saw the fuel pump finally give up the ghost and retirement loomed on the side of the road just before Yarraman. Even quite new fuel pumps are not unbreakable, and the rally gods showed their favour elsewhere last weekend.

Peter and Claire made an effort to rejoin and run stage seven, but the fuel pump continued to falter and discretion dictated an early shower, a glass of red and a hot meal.

While disappointed, the team is not dispirited and will run the next club event at Jimna in November to keep on sorting the car and gaining important seat time.
The 2017 QRC is the target for next season.

- Tom Smith

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