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South Australian Porsche driver Kevin Weeks dominated day one of the 2008 Classic Adelaide tarmac rally, winning all eight stages in the Barossa region today.

Weeks and co-driver Bec Crunkhorn, the defending champions in the Competition-Late Classic category, completed an incident-free run to finish more than 19 seconds ahead of Bill Pye and Grant Geelan, in a similar car.

Local crew Ian Wilson and Jahmiel Taylor, in a Triumph TR7 V8, came home third.

“It was a pretty good day, although we had a couple of small dramas with the car early on,” Weeks reported.

“The Porsche has a new suspension set-up this year and it wasn’t very good until my engineer Oscar worked his usual magic to make a couple of changes.

“It’s definitely quicker and I’m having to get used to that.”

Pye was also coming to grips with his car, which he was racing for the first time. He put in a big effort to take 4.1 seconds out of Wilson’s time in the last and longest special stage of the day, the 12.5 km Corkscrew, in the process jumping from fourth outright to second.

“This is the the first time I’ve driven the car in a tarmac rally. It’s a lot faster than I’ve been used to, but we’re just driving to finish the rally,” he said.

More than 220 cars, including three Ferraris from Hong Kong and one from England, made a spectacular start to the 12th annual event from Adelaide’s Victoria Square this morning.

The field, comprising entrants in Competition and Touring categories, will traverse 34 closed-road special stages and more than 1000 kilometres in total in four loops out from the city to some of South Australia’s most picturesque wine country.

Today was relatively free of incidents, although two cars overturned – without injury to their crews – and delayed the field slightly.

Among the high-profile runners, Targa Tasmania winner Steve Glenney was unable to complete the last stage because of an engine problem in his newly-built Lancia Delta Integrale. Until then, he had been running seventh and reported his Italian all-wheel drive turbo car was running strongly in its debut event.

Jim Richards, driving a Porsche 944 Turbo Cup, is in 20th place.

Canberra rally veteran Rick Bates, with Jenny Brittain, won five stages in the Competition-Classic category to finish almost a minute ahead of Cameron Wearing and Ben Fitzsimons.

South Australian crew Bell Brentzell and Karien Heimsohn put their their popular Ford Mustang Shelby on its roof after holding third place throughout the first half of the day.

The cars tackle nine stages between Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula tomorrow before returning to the city for the traditional Gouger Street Party.

The street’s busy restaurant precinct will be closed for the evening while thousands of Adelaide residents turn out to see the display of millions of dollars worth of some of the world’s finest motoring machinery.

Comprehensive information for Classic Adelaide spectators, including maps and times, is available on the event website, www.classicadelaide.com.au.

RESULTS – DAY ONE (sponsored by Peer Lehmann Wines)

Late Classic (1972-1990)

Kevin Weeks/Bec Crunkhorn (SA, 1975 Porsche 911 RS)
Bill Pye/Grant Geelan (, NSW, 1974 Porsche 911 RS) 19.2 sec. behind leader
Ian Wilson/Jahmiel Taylor (SA, 1978 Triumph TR7 V8) 19.8 behind leader

Classic (1948-1971)

Rick Bates/Jenny Brittain (1971 Porsche 911) 1:47.7
Cameron Wearing/Ben Fitzsimons (1971 Ford Capri Perana) 1 min. 0.8 sec. behind leader
Kim Stewart/Frank Zanotti (WA, 1976 Ford Mustang GT350) 1:53.5 behind leader

Historic (1900-1947)

Bernie O’Shannessy/Tony Borbridge (Vic., 1929 Chrysler Roadster)
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