Wilde takes maiden ARC victory
- 1st April 2012, 8:11am
The second round of the 2012 Bosch Australian Rally Championship has been played out in some of the dustiest and most drought affected conditions ever encountered in the event's history with no significant rain having fallen in the forests around Nannup for more than two months.
Wilde in the Mitsubishi Evo 10 came into the event leading the four-wheel drive championship ahead of Nicholas Box, but it the Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Box, which impressed in the opening stages of the event.
Box had a minute's lead over Wilde after the opening six stages but a flat tyre in the day's seventh stage cost him the lead with Wilde and New South Welshman Michael Boaden leap frogging him on the standings as he changed tyre.
Wilde said he was elated at winning the heat in front of his home crowd and in the forests around his hometown of Nannup.
"We just had to get through the last two stages without losing too much time to Michael Boaden, and to be fair Nic's (Box) flat meant we were lucky to get the lead back," said Wilde.
The Queensland based Mitsubishi Evo 10 of Steven Shepherd struggled in today's stages after losing a gear in the stage three and a further two gears in the following stages.
Honda driver Eli Evans leads the Bosch two wheel drive championship in the Honda G2 Jazz ahead of the Nissan Sylvia S15 of Jack Monkhouse and Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Challenge competitor Dylan King was a remarkable third outright in his aged Ford Escort.
Evans said the Honda Jazz G2 had some teething issues breaking a power steering pump mid way through the day but the works Honda team quickly recovered to win the day.
"We lost power steering but I could still drive the car however the force was phenomenal and it was very tricky to drive," said Evans.
"Our team was able to change it in 30 minutes in service, they are such a professional crew and it is because of their efforts that we won today," he added.
"Unfortunately we didn't get maximum points today because Jack Monkhouse beat us on the power stage but we will be out to get the full haul on heat two," he added.
"Unfortunately Mark Pedder slid off, their times would have improved during the day if they had the chance."
Evans' teammate Mark Pedder had a day he'd rather forget in the second Honda G2 Jazz entry after going off course and getting bogged on stage four. The Jazz was unable to be recovered from its resting place between stages and Pedder was ruled out of the heat.
In the Classic Championship, Toyota Celica driver Neal Bates has continued to lead the Porsche 911 of Jeff David.
Bates showed incredible pace in the Busselton special stages, rivalling the modern two wheel drive entries of Evans and Pedder.
Heat two of the rally gets underway tonight with two more runs over the Busselton Super Special before the final eight stages around Nannup on Sunday.
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