Reeves maintains second outright in WRC Academy
- 7th October 2012, 12:45pm
Australians Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth have finished round 5 of the WRC Academy, Rally France, in fourth place and remain second outright in the Championship.
Rally France didn't start too well for the Aussie duo when a puncture on the second stage of the rally (Friday's opening stage) cost them over two minutes and dropped them from third back to sixth. With another 14 stages remaining, though, Reeves and Smyth were confident they could work their way back up the leader board.
On Friday's afternoon stages they did just that, setting consistently good stage times and winning the final stage of the day, the Super Special at Mulhouse. They finished the day in fifth place.
“We didn’t start off too well today with a puncture on the first stage [SS2]." Reeves said. "I’m not sure what it was – just a small cut on the tyre. But we re-grouped and have set some really good times. We were really close to the top and then we got a stage win on the last one – it is only a short stage, but still a championship point!
“We have eight new dry-tyres for tomorrow now and 190 km so we should be in a good position. The tyres didn’t really wear much today but it was completely dry in some places and really muddy in others.
“On some of the new stages the pacenotes weren’t great, but we improved our times a lot on the second pass.
“It has been tricky, but we are still enjoying it a lot.”
With another eight stages to contest on Saturday, Reeves was aiming to maintain his speed and consistency and put in a strong finish. Two of the morning's four stages were cancelled - one due to an accident and the other due to excessive crowds - so at the midday service the pair remained fifth.
The afternoon's stages were good for Reeves with a couple of top-three stage times, and he and Smyth finished the rally in fourth place, the 12 Championship points earned enough to retain second outright in the WRC Academy title. Welshman Elfyn Evans won the event and in doing so secured the 2012 WRC Academy title. Reeves will head into the final round, Rally Spain, just two points ahead of Jose Suarez in the battle for second place - not bad for a driver from Down Under who only gets to drive the Fiesta R2 come rally day, unlike his competitors who own their own Fiestas and drive them regularly.
Despite his disappointment at not finishing on the podium, Reeves was happy to retain his position in the Championship.
“It was a tricky day. We started back in sixth position, trying to claw our way back from the puncture yesterday. But we pushed on and set some really good stage times. Pontus [Tidemand] and I had a really great battle and then Fredrik [Åhlin] came in on it as well which was good fun.
“We’re improving all the time, but it is just not consistent enough yet. We need to be more consistent on the variety of [Tarmac] surface because there are five or six types of roads on one stage here and in the more open stuff we’re still not getting it quite right. But we’re working on it!”
More time spent testing and competing in European events would certainly help the determined Aussie duo who have proven they have what it takes to get to the next level, but funding is essential to ensure they can take the next step.
Reeves and Smyth will return to Australia early this week and the next event on their schedule is the Coffs Coast Rally, a round of the Australian Rally Championship, where they will drive the zero car.
Results, Rally France (WRC Academy)
1. Elfyn Evans, 25 points
2. Jose Suarez, 18 points
3. John Macrone, 15 points
4. Brendan Reeves, 12 points
5. Frederik Ahlin, 10 points
WRC Academy standings after Rally France
1. Elfyn Evans, 126 points
2. Brendan Reeves, 76 points
3. Jose Suarez, 74 points
4. Pontus Tidemand, 59 points
5. John Macrone, 59 points
More info: www.brendanreeves.com.au
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