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Tom Wilde has claimed the Pedders Suspension Power Stage, held under lights and in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Nambour Showgrounds earlier tonight.

The evening started in dramatic fashion though when ECB ARC pace setter Eli Evans clouted a steel barricade with the front right wheel on his Honda Jazz damaging the control arm and forcing his early exit from the Power Stage.

Teammate Mark Pedder explained that the damage was relatively light and that the Honda team had made the decision to repair the car ahead of tomorrow’s forest action rather than risk sending Eli out again tonight.

The stage also witnessed two rather bizarre incidents, with Justin Dowel firstly missing the exit off the Showgrounds oval and making an unscheduled additional lap before he regained his bearings.

But that was to be trumped by officials operating a forklift which had been brought into right the steel barricade, knocked askew by Eli Evans, who found themselves starring down the spot lights of Asia-Pacific front runner Esapekka Lappi Skoda Fabia at full speed.

Lappi was slowed in time, but the minor delay had ruined his lap and he was allowed to re-contest the stage. The Finn would go on to set the quickest time of the APRC contenders, leading his Skoda team mate Gurav Gill by 0.2 seconds.

Back to the Pedders Suspension Power Stage action Justin Dowel was given a wild card entry and completed his run with a time of 1:53.95.

“I knew we wouldn’t be challenging the top guys but that didn’t stop me from having fun! I made a few errors but it’s just great to be out racing against my mates again,” said Justin.

Mark Pedder blasted into the stage but quickly found his Honda Jazz was having issues downshifting. “Our time could have been two or three seconds faster if I could have changed down properly,” he said.

“I think it’ll be something simple like a connecting rod, it just meant I couldn’t shift down the way it should and that cost us time, no question about that,” Pedder added, his time 1:52.40 to move him ahead of Dowel.

Next onto the stage was Jack Monkhouse, as ever power sliding his Nissan Silvia to the joy of the spectators, his time though slower than Mark Pedder by fractions of a second.

“That’s rallying, we got him (Mark Pedder) by 0.1 seconds in Adelaide, tonight he got us,” Jack explained.

All eyes turned to Scott Pedder, fourth car into the stage, and he managed a clean run to move ahead of his brother with a 1:49.35. “I honestly can’t push any harder than that!” he exclaimed at the finish control.

“I was probably a bit messy, and I think I held my breath for almost two minutes. It’s always good to beat your brother too!” he smiled.

Penultimate car into the Power Stage was Brendan Reeves, and he was pushing hard, spraying rocks on the turns and scrabbling for traction. “It was a good clean run, a really close time again to Scott like it’s been on these stages all year,” said Brendan as he waited for his time, a 1:49.12 edging him just past Pedder.

“I came into this stage really determined to get some good points, and I thought I’d mucked it up, I was tight through the gate and I think that cost me a bit. Let’s see what Tom (Wilde) can do,” Reeves added.

Last car and the only driver capable of knocking Brendan off the top spot, Wilde pounced, urging his recently upgraded Renault Clio to go faster, and as he shot across the finish line it became clear he had with a time of 1:48.89.

“I’m so pumped about that!” Wilde beamed at the finish. “I’ve been waiting all year to win one of these Power Stages, and to do it with Pedders sponsorship on the car is even better.”

“I’ve always liked these sorts of stages, and the 5 points is exactly what I needed too. I’ll sleep well tonight and press on from the very start tomorrow. I’m feeling a bit of pressure to perform, we think we’ve gotten the car sorted and now it’s time to start proving what I can do.”

Action at International Rally of Queensland gets underway at 7am tomorrow morning when the Classic cars are the first away on the 6.00km Gibber stage. Leg One consists of 12 special stages in the forests around Imbil, stay tuned to rally.com.au for full coverage.

Pedders Suspension Power Stage

1. Tom Wilde (Renault Clio) 1:48.89

2. Brendan Reeves (Mazda2) 1:49.12

3. Scott Pedder (Renault Clio) 1:49.35

4. Mark Pedder (Honda Jazz) 1:52.40

5. Jack Monkhouse (Nissan Silvia) 1:52.72

6. Justin Dowel (VW Polo) 1:53.95


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