The all-new car, which is as rare as it is new, had a troublesome debut in Canberra, but when on song in Western Australia, it had many turning heads.

The Victorian pair were lying in third overall and had recovered strong ground from their driveshaft failure on Friday night.

They’d set a stage time in the top three, mixing it with Toyota drivers Lewis Bates and Richie Dalton near the front of the field.

It all came undone though when their Subaru-powered Ford Fiesta came off the road.

“Unfortunately on the rally’s seventh stage we made a mistake which ended the rally for us,” Windus explained.

“It was a long left-hand corner in which a hole propped the car up. We overcorrected and ended up in the scenery.”

The crash spelled the end of Windus’ Forest Rally as the damage was too great to repair overnight, and upon reflection, Windus can understand where he went wrong.

“Initially I was surprised with what happened, but after looking at it, I’ve got to be honest and say it was driver error,” he said.

Arron Windus took the third fastest time on stage one in WA.

“It’s really hard to accept as I was within my limits in terms of the driving, but unfortunately the outcome wasn’t ideal.”

Windus’ return to the ARC is still in its infancy and he’s making steps as a driver in the new car. With the interrupted seasons of 2020 and 2021, consistent seat time is reaping its benefits.

An entry at Rally Launceston later this month could be on the cards, and after the damage was assessed on the car, they believe there’s still a chance they’ll make it to Tasmania.

“The damage is not as bad as we first thought and we’re currently waiting on the relevant parts to see if we can make the trip to Tasmania,” he added.

“It’s a very fast turnaround to the next round, so things are still up in the air regardless.”

Windus and the team are waiting on custom parts from New Zealand and their entry will depend on several things from shipping to budget.

The signs are there that the team is on the right path with the development of the car and Windus remains committed to making the most of the chances he has to battle near the front.

“Realistically, we’re not in the championship race, so we need to find goals for the remainder of the season based around the individual rallies,” Windus added.

He has not competed in Tasmania before, but for the following two rounds in Queensland and Victoria, he has as much experience, if not, more, than his main rivals.

It’s a puzzle that has Windus thinking about the prospects of what the remainder of the year might hold.

“We’re unsure about what we’ll be doing for the remainder of the season as things have changed in terms of the budget available to us,” he added.

“Throughout my rally career, I’ve been able to build some great partnerships and I’m keen to provide more value to Bitu-Mill and MTX Audio for the remainder of the season.

The team is unsure whether they'll make it to Tasmania.

“I believe we’re really on the right path with this car and can challenge near the front if the opportunities arise.”

Regardless of whether they make the Tasmanian ARC round, an entry into the Gippsland Rally in August, their home ARC round, is inevitable.

While Arron does not have experience on those particular roads, he does have vast experience in his home state, having won the state title in 2019.

His father, Darren, has years of experience on the Gippsland roads and took the victory there when the round ventured east of Melbourne in 2021.

Although it was only a state round, the familiarisation with the roads will help no end.

“I just love driving and really enjoy the battle of competition in the ARC – it’s a privilege to be battling the big-budget teams and we can’t wait to show our skill at the next ARC round we’re at,” he added.

Windus and the team have just three weeks until Tasmania’s Rally Launceston, round three of the Australian Rally Championship, but a decision on their entry is expected sooner.

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