Rookie wins Lake Mountain Tango
- 29th January 2007, 8:46am
Simonsen and co-driver Ben Searcy topped the time boards with a total of 51m 55.50s for the 11 runs (nine up, two down) of the Lake Mountain access road, setting record times for fastest runs in both directions on their way to victory. They contested the event in a 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.
Simonsen, who is Danish, has a strong circuit racing pedigree both here and overseas. In Australia, his resume includes V8 Supercars, V8 utes and Nations Cup, but his international experience includes top results at Le Mans, the Spa 24-Hour and the European GT3 series. He has contested one prior tarmac rally.
In second place, in a 2005 Subaru WRX STi, were gravel rally specialists Eli Evans and Chris Murphy, while third place went to the Tasmanian nephew/uncle duo of Jason and John White in their 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Fourth outright were Asia-Pacific (gravel) rally champions Cody Crocker and Ben Atkinson (2006 Subaru WRX STi Spec C), while fifth place went to husband and wife duo Drew and Georgie Jorgensen in their 1989 Nissan Skyline GTR. The Melbourne couple were not the only husband-and-wife duo to make the top 10 - Sydney's Neville and Michelle Shears finished sixth in their 2001 Lancer Evo 6.5 TME.
In the classic (pre-1981) division, first place (and eighth outright) went to Kevin Weeks and Bec Crunkhorn in a 1975 Porsche RS, with Gary Tierney and David Carra second (13th outright) in a 1974 Porsche Carrera RS. Stephen Cadden and Steven Strik were third in the classic division (15th outright) in a 1972 Porsche 911.
Seven Network personality and part-time V8 Supercar driver, Grant Denyer finished 19th outright after posting top five times across the weekend. Denyer and former Australian rally champion co-driver Dale Moscatt were in podium contention on day one, but were forced to make up ground after an off-road excursion.
Another V8 Supercar star who had a frustrating weekend was Holden-turned-Ford driver, Steven Richards. Richards is a regular tarmac rally competitor in an awesome 1971 Ford Escort RS 1600 and he and co-driver Gerry Bashford were hovering around fifth outright until an unscheduled off-road excursion which left them unhurt, but the Escort a bit the worse for wear.
The uphill/downhill Lake Mountain (Sprint) Tango came about through competitor demand after the successful 'debut' last year of the first Lake Mountain Sprint which was run uphill only, on the 10km access road from the ticket office at the base of the mountain to the ski village itself.
Event headquarters was in the nearby town of Marysville, around 10km from the start, and 90 minutes north-east of Melbourne. The Tango is the first round of the all-new Mountain Sprint series, which also includes the popular Mt Buller Sprint, which has been running for three years.
Further rounds will be held in May and November this year and a NSW event is under consideration. Competitors entering the series must have a CAMS national rally licence and cars that comply with CAMS requirements.
Full results from the Lake Mountain (Sprint) Tango are available on the website, www.lakemountainsprint.com
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