Ryan Smart and John Allen were determined to take back their control of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship as quickly and decisively as possible, taking a 37.6 second lead over championship rivals Justin Dowel and Matt Lee by SS3 of the Coffs Coast Rally.

With some off road adventures hampering Dowel and Mark Pedder, Smart was able to finish day one with a 1 min 39.3 sec lead over the next closest ARC competitors and fellow Queenslanders Steven Shepheard and John McCarthy.

“The plan from now is to stay on the road and get to the finish without any problems,” co-driver John Allen said at the end of Day One.

Even with that plan, Ryan and John took an equal first stage time with Pedder/Tierney on SS14 Unringa 1.

“That stage (SS14 Urunga 1) is the best stage of the whole rally, because you can attack it aggressively all the way through,” Ryan said.

At the end of SS15 Smart and Allen had established a massive lead of 2 mins 11.6 secs over Shepheard/McCarthy, and were looking to take a comfortable victory in the fourth round of the championship.

Unfortunately the Corolla suffered a broken front driveshaft in SS16 and Ryan and John’s lead was diminished to 1min 23.7 secs by the final refuel in Bowraville. With some on-road repairs Ryan was able to remove the broken driveshaft and nurse the Corolla to the finish line in second position with three wheel drive.

“We’re happy that we are now back in the lead of the championship, but also disappointed that we weren’t able to maintain first position after being so dominant all weekend. We pretty much handed the win to Shepheard,” Ryan said after the podium presentation.

“It's great for the championship to see Steven and John on the top step and Eli and Glen in the Honda on the podium again. As my Dad said, it’s great to see a two-wheel drive, three-wheel drive and a four-wheel drive on the podium”, Ryan joked.

The Bosch Australian Rally Championship will conclude in Warragul Victoria in November.
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