Day one of the Lasseters Classic Outback Trial felt a bit like history repeating itself, with the 2016 winners, Andrew and David Travis, taking the honours in their Nissan Gazelle.
After setting the fastest time in the previous day’s prologue at the Finke racing facility, the pair got off to a quick start, winning the opening 40km Owen Springs East stage, however, there were several challengers queuing up behind to keep the pressure on.
The Datsun Stanza of Trevor Stilling/Lisa Dunkerton surprised many to get within two seconds of the champions, with Ian Reddiex/Mike Mitchell a further second adrift in third.
An incident on the second stage involving the cars of Stilling and Richard Bennett/Matthew James-Wallace (Mustang) momentarily halted the event, and would see them take no further part in the rally.
When the rally resumed, there was plenty for the locals to cheer about when Phil Kerr (Datsun) topped the time sheets in stage three at the Alice Springs Off Road Club.
Peter Neal leads the Modern competition in his Subaru.
He and co-driver Jenny Cole took top spot again on the final stage to finish the day in second place and only 20 seconds in arrears of the Travis’.
Ian Reddiex and Mike Mitchell (Datsun) recovered from an earlier camshaft timing issue to secure third position and be less than a minute behind the leaders.
In modern competition, defending champions Peter Neal and Craig Whyburn took advantage of the 4WD grip from their Subaru Impreza WRX to dominate the day’s proceedings across the sandy surfaces of all four stages with a comfortable lead just shy of two minutes.
Chris and Blake McCormack (Magna) sit in second with Peter Sweeney/Dan Murphy (Subaru) in third.
Results for the event can be found at: http://www.rallyresults.com.au/cot/results2018/and further information at: www.classicoutbacktrial.com.au
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