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Brendan Reeves has made the perfect return to the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship, winning the opening 1.8km tarmac stage of the National Capital Rally.

Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Gelsomino lead the National Capital Rally after the first stage. (Photo: Peter Whitten)

Driving his left-hand drive Subaru Impreza WRX, Reeves was just 0.1 of a second faster than Simon Evans around the stage, with Harry Bates a further 1.5 seconds back in third place.

Running as first car on the road, Nathan Quinn took fourth fastest in his Lancer Evo 9, ahead of Tom Wilde’s Subaru in fifth.

Mark Pedder was 7.9 seconds off the pace in eighth place, but there was even more dramas for Molly Taylor, who had water pump failure on the way to the start.

The Subaru team fixed the car in the nick of time, and she completed the first stage in 10th place, 8.7 seconds behind Reeves.

Even worse was in store for Justin Dowel, who broke a propshaft on the start line in his Hyundai i20 and went no further.

The action gets underway again on Saturday morning with six stages in the Kowen Forest, before a second running of the tarmac stage finishes the day.

Results after SS1:

1. Reeves, Subaru, 1m32.5s
2. Evans, Subaru, +0.1s
3. Bates, Toyota, +1.6s
4. Quinn, Mitsubishi, +2.2s
5. Wilde, Subaru, +3.4s
6. Patton, Mitsubishi, +5.1s

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