Lowndes secures fourth in Heat One of Rally SA
- 26th July 2008, 7:20pm
Leading Mitsubishi driver, Access Hardware’s Spencer Lowndes, has overcome early difficulties to finish fourth outright in Heat One of the Sprint Auto Parts Rally South Australia today.
Lowndes was forced to change a broken gear box after the official shakedown yesterday afternoon, missing the first two stages of the event while his crew worked through the night to replace the box.
“We cracked one of the gears in the gear box during Shakedown so, unfortunately, we had to replace the dog box with a standard synchro box,” said Lowndes.
Out in the forest today Lowndes was quickly back amongst the pace of the front runners. Consistently setting top four stage times, he was locked in a battle with Glen Raymond for fourth place throughout the day.
At the end of the heat, not even 10 stages and over 108 competitive kilometres could separate the two drivers, who finished teh day tied in fourth place with a total time of 1:05.28.
“The rain definitely made things a bit difficult out there this morning but the roads were just fantastic,” enthused Lowndes.
“We had a great battle on our hands. Glen (Raymond) had our measure early this morning but we were able to pick up the pace this afternoon.”
With the open shire roads of South Australia renowned for their fast top end speeds, the changes Lowndes made to his Mitsubishi Evo IX in the lead up to the rally paid dividends. Increased response meant he was able to close the gap to those in front and strip seconds off the chasing crews of Glen Raymond and Justin Dowel.
“The car is handling well. It is beautifully balanced and the response we’re getting from the car is the best we’ve ever had! Best of all, it is allowing us to change the attitude of the car mid corner, which means we can push a lot harder than we’ve been able to this year.”
Heat Two now gets underway with two passes around the Super Special Stage at Angaston tonight before a further eight forest stages tomorrow.
Pic: Nathan Hubble, Hubble Photografix .
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