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Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Gelsomino have made a successful return to the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship (ARC), finishing Heat 1 of the National Capital Rally in Canberra in second place.

The pair started the event brilliantly, winning the opening stage of the rally, a tarmac stage around Lake Burleigh Griffin, on Friday night.

Saturday’s heat consisted of six forestry stages and a re-run of the tarmac stage, but trouble struck early for Reeves when he broke first and second gears on the day’s opening stage.  

Despite the difficulty of being without two gears for almost 114 kilometres of stages, Reeves battled on, claiming second fastest time on three stages and third fastest on another two.  His solid performance was enough to secure second place overall for the heat behind Simon Evans (Subaru), and almost a minute clear of third placed Nathan Quinn (Mitsubishi).

Light rain fell during the morning stages today and whilst it cleared up for the afternoon, the roads were quite slippery and rough.

Immediately after the day’s competition, Reeves joined his mechanics to put a new synchro gearbox in the car (thanks to Tasmanian competitor Craig Brookes) during the allocated service time.  

“After the gearbox problems today we took it stage by stage because we felt it wasn’t going to do any more damage to continue,” Reeves said.

“Once we had the car moving along, everything was normal, it was only on the slow corners and starting line that made it more difficult. The EXEDY clutch did a great job to hold on for the whole day.

“Tomorrow’s going to be different as with the synchro box you don’t left foot brake so I’ll have to change my driving style but I’ll be pushing on for a good result.

“Rhianon and I want to say a huge thanks to all the team for sorting out the issues today. They did a fantastic job.”

Tomorrow’s Heat 2 of the National Capital Rally features a further six stages, three stages each to be run twice.

Photo: John Doutch

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