At last weekend's ASP/Cut Price Adelaide Hills Tarmac Rally, 19 year old driver, James Rodda and co-driver, Marcus Piristi, started strongly and showed outright pace from the word go.

Rodda, Piristi and the Rally Power Motorsport team, led the South Australian Rally Championship for the first time, throughout the Saturday stages based out of Victor Harbor, and had climbed inside the top ten in the Australian Tarmac Championship section.

“We were thrilled with our progress, to be leading the SARC field for the first time. On the first pass of the Hindmarsh Tiers stage we were less than ten seconds off Kevin Weeks in the Supaloc Lamborghini, and setting equal fourth quickest time on stage, alongside last years event winner, Andrew Burnard, was amazing,” stated Rodda.

Rodda and Piristi had climbed to sixth outright in the Australian Tarmac Championship and were leading the SARC by close to two minutes until extreme bad luck struck as the pair were crossing the finish line on the final stage. The Rally Power Motorsport WRX had developed a major engine problem. With victory in sight, the pair had a big task ahead to try and get the car from the end of stage, to the finish at service park at Penny Hill Winery, about 50 kilometress away.

After travelling 20 kilometres at a very slow pace, the engine gave up, and any hopes of winning their first SARC round quickly disappeared with it.

“We couldn’t believe our luck. To be leading the event by a large margin all day and then having to face a problem just getting the car to the final finish control! We had nothing to lose, so we drove the car on with what was basically a blown engine, but unfortunately after 20 k's it wouldn’t go any further. I think the most devastating part of it was after a few minutes of trying to restart the car, truly realising that the car wasn’t going any further and, it was all over,” commented Rodda.

Rodda had also entered in the Australian Tarmac Championship section, for a discounted entry fee, due to being a graduate of the Southern Districts Car Club’s CAMS Junior Development Program. He was looking forward to continuing his charge on the Sunday’s stages and further improving the sixth outright placing. Whilst very disappointed at not being able to take out first place for this round, Rodda was philosophical in his approach.

“We have shown we can consistently achieve fast stage times, winning nearly all of Saturday's stages in the SARC. Now we have to spend some time getting the engine rebuilt before Rally of South Australia on June 26 and 27, then show we can do it again!”

Find out more about the Rally Power Motorsport team by visiting their website


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