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As with any great championship, it has all come down to the final race of the season, the Great Tarmac Rally (GTR) at Marysville, Victoria. The leading competitors, across all categories, with the exception of Keith and Alex Morling in Classic, and perhaps Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter in Modern 2WD, who can risk a second, must win at GTR to be confident of being 2018 AASA Australian Tarmac Rally Champions. With their second place at Snowy River, Danny Traverso and Jason Page in an Evo, hold a narrow 14-point lead in the outright championship over the Audi TT RS pairing of Barrie Smith and Russell Hannah. The Evo of Greg and Rhonda Burrowes is a further 16-points behind, but within striking distance. Following their victory at Snowy River, Michael Harding and Adam Kudra lead the 2019 championship, but are fourth overall in the 2018 standings, some 47-points behind Danny Traverso. Although they are long odds to win the 2018 championship, a good finish at GTR, would put them in a commanding position for the 2019 crown. With DNFs at Snowy River for both the Dodge Viper and Shelby GT Mustang, the battle for the Showroom 2WD category has come down to Adam Spence and Lee Challoner-Miles in a 2013 Renault Clio on 298 points and the V8 Commodore of Toni Conrad and Kim Bessell on 292 points. In the Classic category, Keith and Alex Morling go to GTR with a comfortable lead over the Porsche 911 of Mark Clair and Lee Harper who are in second place. A DNF from either the Porsche or the 1972 Mercedes Benz of Geoff Nicholls and Anthony Carr, could see fourth placed Robin and Peter Lowe, in their 1971 Datsun, on the championship podium. Peter Gluskie and Samantha Winter’s 1985 BMW leads the Modern 2WD category by 51 points from second placed Ash Diffey and Ryan Verner in a 2000 Mazda MX5. A second or third place should be enough to secure the 2018 championship for Gluskie and Winter but a DNF could see it go to Diffey and Verner. It will be interesting to see the tactics they adopt because the GTR is also the second round of the 2019 championship. In Modern 4WD, Danny Traverso lead Steve Spada and Bernie Webb in a 2003 Evo. Barrie Smith is in front of Greg and Rhonda Burrowes in the Showroom 4WD category. “It’s an exciting finish to the year,” said Peter Washington of Mountain Motorsports. “You couldn’t have hoped for a closer competition. The once off crossover between the 2018 and the 2019 championship has added an additional layer of excitement. And we might have snow.”
  • by Mark Biggs
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