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Townsville's Geoff Pickering has maintained his 100% record on the tough Finke Desert Race, celebrating a record 11th consecutive finish and class win in the off road enduro, sealing victory in the Production 4WD class at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Pajero.

Pickering brought his production Pajero home in 40th outright, taking first in class from a field of 99 cars, beating home many more highly modified and purpose built off road race machines.

In what has been described as ‘one of the toughest races in its 38 year history’, Pickering and co-driver Dylan Watson, covered the bone rattling 452 kilometre desert course from Alice Springs to Finke and back in a time of 6hr21m47s.

It was a race of high attrition with just over half of the four wheel competitors failing to make the finish back in Alice Springs on Monday morning.

According to Geoff Pickering, taking his 11th straight finish from 11 starts at Finke is an achievement he is extremely proud of.

"When I first contested the Finke in 2002 I had no idea that more than a decade later we would be celebrating an 11th straight class victory in the race.”

"Our Pajero was extremely strong throughout the race and it felt fantastic, even with some of the roughest conditions we have encountered on the Finke, despite the welcome rain earlier in the week,”

“I have to thank and congratulate the team for the preparation and to Mitsubishi for engineering and manufacturing such a great vehicle that makes it a lot easier to take racing," said Pickering.

"When we arrived in Finke on Sunday afternoon there was virtually nothing to be done to the car. We inspected everything and did a spanner check but apart from precautionary checks there was nothing to attend to before the race back to Alice Springs on Monday morning," he said.

"The secret to success at the Finke is preparation, as well as applying a strategy and a race pace that is fast enough to beat the opposition while ensuring you get the car to the finish in one piece."

"We just set our race pace and stuck with it. We ran our own race and didn't push too hard. With the tough conditions we knew that our pace was right and we would pick up places as the faster buggies and trophy trucks broke axles and suffered driveline problems and crashes," he added.

The Pickering Production Class Mitsubishi Pajero is powered by the standard 3.8 litre fuel injected V6 petrol engine with only limited modifications allowed for safety and durability in the testing conditions encountered in the Australian Off Road Championship.

Following the record 11th class victory in the Finke the team has already started preparation for round three of the Australian Off Road Championship at Baroota near Port Pirie in South Australia set down for 27-28 July, where Geoff will be aiming to score strong points as he bids for another Class 7 Australian Championship.

MMAL’s CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri congratulated Pickering and his team in their outstanding victory.

“Pajero owners are no doubt aware that they have one pretty tough vehicle. Despite being a comfortable and spacious family car, it's one that's also built with off-roading in mind and can cope with the roughest of conditions.”

“One man who has put that reputation to the test and vindicated it in emphatic style is off-road racer Geoff Pickering.  I congratulate Mr Pickering and his team on their outstanding 11th consecutive class victory at Finke.  All of us here at Mitsubishi are looking forward to seeing them continue that success into round three.” Oshikiri said
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