Two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Tony Longhurst, has finished an impressive second in the gruelling Mt Buller Sprint.

Driving his Les Walkden Rallying-supported Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Longhurst and co-driver, Jahmeil Taylor, held off the fast finishing Lamborghini Gallardo of Kevin Weeks, taking second place by just one second.

LWR team owner, Les Walkden, finished 24th in his Subaru, capping off a great weekend for the team.

“It’s been a very hard event, but I’m rapt to finish on the podium again,” a delighted Longhurst said at the finish. “After our win in the Tasmanian Tarmac Challenge last month, to finish second at the Mt Buller Sprint is a great way to end the season.

“We pressed hard all day, made no mistakes, and even scored the second fastest time ever up the mountain late in the day, so the car definitely had plenty of speed.”

The 16 kilometre stage up the access road to the Mt Buller ski resort is one of the toughest tarmac rally stages in Australia. With the weather and temperatures often vastly different at the stage start at the bottom of the mountain to what they are at the top, tyre choice can be a real lottery.

“We had one wet run today, and on hard compound tyres it was a bit of a struggle to keep the car on the road, but after we got through that the weather improved and we finished the day well,” Longhurst added.

“George Miedecke, who won the event, drove a brilliant rally and deserves his victory, but it was great to hold off Kevin Weeks to claim second place.”

Walkden continued to improve his stage times after a 16 year lay-off from competitive rallying, reducing his stage times from yesterday by 10 seconds.

“I’ve had an awesome day, and a brilliant weekend,” Walkden said. “The car went really well and it was great to get back behind the wheel.

“I was more confident with my driving, and I guess that shows because the stage times dropped accordingly,” he explained.

“It’s also great for the team that Tony has been able to finish second after another faultless drive.”

Longhurst’s rally season has now finished, but he has already set his mind to next February’s Rally Tasmania, followed by the jewel in the tarmac rallying crown, Targa Tasmania, in April.

“Les (Walkden) and I have already started talking about next year, and I’d love to drive for LWR again,” Longhurst said. “Our results and our speed have improved as this year has worn on, and I’m really looking forward to pushing for my first Targa Tasmania victory next April.”

In the meantime, the Les Walkden Rallying team are back in action on November 15 and 16 when Michael Guest drives the Pirtek / LWR Subaru in the final round of the Australian Rally Championship, at Coffs Harbour, on the NSW north coast.
Mt Buller Sprint, provisional results:
1. George Miedecke, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX
2. Tony Longhurst, Subaru Impreza WRX STI
3. Kevin Weeks, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera
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