Motor racing legend Jim Richards leads the 30th anniversary running of Rally Tasmania after the first two competitive stages in the north west of Tasmania.

The wily veteran has put his Porsche into a commanding 13.9 second lead over the Subarus of Brendan Reeves and Steve Glenney.

Victorian Peter Eames in a Porsche 911 RS holds a slender 4.7 second advantage in the Classics over the DeTomaso Pantera of Keith Callinan, with another Porsche driven by Roger Paterson in third place.

In his return to the national series, Scott Pedder leads the Australian Rally Championship field in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, just 0.3 of a second ahead of Eli Evans in a Honda Civic.

In fine, warm and dry conditions, competitors completed three stages near Burnie late on Friday afternoon on the first of three days of tough competition.

Local hero Jamie Vandenberg overcame a pre-event differential change on his Mitsubishi Lancer to lead after the first timed stage, but Richards played his hand on the next stage, Hellyer Leslie.

A scorching time over the 19 kilometre test saw him finish more then 10 seconds clear of his nearest rival to establish a commanding lead.

“We had an excellent day with a good run over both stages,” Richards’ co-driver, Barry Oliver, said.

“We didn't push extra hard, but got into a really good rhythm.  Jim drove really well and the car was excellent. It all bodes well for tomorrow.”

Reeves, on his first major rally since an accident in 2009, was immediately back on the pace in his Subaru, outpacing the similar Impreza WRX STI of former Rally Tasmania winner Steve Glenney.

2009 rally winner, Tony Quinn, is 17 seconds from the lead in his Nissan GT-R, less than a second clear of Vandenberg in fifth place.

Keith Callinan shot out of the starting blocks to take the Classic lead after the first stage, but Peter Eames bounced back over the longer Hellyer Leslie stage to finish the day with a lead of nearly five seconds. It promises to be a great battle over the final two days, with the German engineering of the Porsche against the Italian muscle of the Pantera.

The consistent Roger Paterson slotted into third place, over a minute clear of John Kelly’s booming Holden Torana, with Mitch Roberts in a Mazda RX7 fifth.

Pedder’s lead in the Australian Championship comes as a surprise to many. Eli Evans’ two-wheel drive Honda Civic led after the first stage, but the four-wheel drive Mitsubishi made its move on stage two to move into a slender lead.

Three-time national champion, Simon Evans, the older brother of Eli Evans, made a steady start in his Subaru and is in third place, less than six seconds from the lead.

Last year’s championship runner-up, Glen Raymond, is fourth on the debut of his Lancer Evo X, with Justin Dowel fifth in another Mitsubishi.

Day two of Rally Tasmania will see competitors tackle another eight special stages totalling 160 kilometres on a run south west of Burnie.

After an 8am start in Burnie, the longest stage of the day is the famous 30 kilometre Savage River test, which is run in both directions. The first car is due back in Burnie at 4pm.

A further eight stages will be held on Sunday, before the winners step on to the podium later that afternoon after three days of tough, tarmac rallying.

Rally Tasmania results (after 2 of 18 stages)


1. Jim Richards / Barry Oliver, Porsche 911 GT2, 11:44.4
2. Brendan Reeves     / Rhianon Smyth    , Subaru Impreza WRX STi, +00:13.9
3. Steve Glenney / Alan Stean, Subaru Impreza WRX STi, +00:14.4
4. Tony Quinn / Naomi Tillett, Nissan GTR R35, +00:17.2
5. Jamie Vandenberg / Simon Vandenberg, Mitsubish Lancer Evo IV, +00:17.4


1. Peter Eames / Rebecca Eames, Porsche 911 RS, 12:29.0
2. Keith Callinan / Mary Anne Callinan, De Tomaso Pantera, +00:04.7
3. Roger Paterson / Richard Geue, Porsche 911 RS,  +00:21.3
4. John Kelly / Michael Bates, Holden Torana LX, +01:22.3
5. Michael Kelly / Dion North, Ford Falcon XD, +01:23.1


1. Scott Pedder / Jonathon Mortimer, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, 12:08.9
2. Eli Evans / Glen Weston, Honda Civic Typre R, +00:00.3
3. Simon Evans / Sue Evans, Subaru Impreza WRX, +00:05.7
4. Glen Raymond / Matt Raymond, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, +00:22.3
5. Justin Dowel / Matt Lee, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, +00:28.5

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