Maximum Motorsport’s Brad Markovic has come away from last weekend’s The Courier Eureka Rally with a narrow lead in the ARC2 pointscore, ahead of Glen Raymond and Andrew Penny.
Markovic, with co-driver Toni Feaver, returns to the ARC2 ranks in 2018 after he was forced to give up his spot in the winner-takes-all final at Kennards Hire Rally Australia to recover from back surgery, which has kept him out of the driver’s seat for seven months.
A solid performance on the roads around Ballarat earned him sixth outright at round one of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship, handing him an eight point buffer from the hard-charging Glen Raymond.
Raymond, who last campaigned the full ARC in 2010, had it all to do in heat two of The Courier Eureka Rally after an issue with the braking system on his Mistubishi Lancer EVO IX caused two punctures early on day one.
The Victorian, with Kate Catford in the co-driver’s seat, turned it on in heat two, setting the second fastest time on four of the day’s seven stages, eventually finishing day two third outright and first in ARC2.
Raymond’s day two points haul puts him just two ahead of Kosciusko Automotive Rally Team’s Andrew Penny.
Penny, this year teaming up with Rhys Llewellyn in the Subaru Impreza WRX, finished the event in ninth outright, placing ninth outright and third in ARC2 in both heats.
Penny’s daughter Kirra, who up until last year sat beside her father in the co-driver seat, has joined forces with young gun Wayne Morton in 2018. Morton made a great start to his ARC2 campaign, finishing heat one eighth outright and second in ARC2.
However the rally gods had other plans for Morton, his Toyota Corolla S2000 suffering brake failure before the first stage in heat two. Some quick ‘bush mechanics’ by Morton kept them running but the problem bit again four kilometres into the first stage and again in the second, forcing a return to the service park.
The young pair added a broken sway bar in the afternoon stages to their horror day, yet managed to finish and salvage some points.
Victorian husband and wife team Ben and Cathy Hayes also made a solid start to their ARC2 campaign, sitting fourth in the pointscore after The Courier Eureka Rally.
Drivers that competed in ARC2 at The Courier Eureka Rally will have one more chance in the remaining four rounds to earn points.
The top five ARC2 drivers after round five will receive free entry to Rally Australia and a set of MRF tyres to take part in the winner-takes-all ARC2 final.
Introduced in 2017 to help rally drivers transition from state to national competition, competitors eligible for ARC2 in 2018 are automatically nominated for their home round, where they receive points towards the ARC2 series.
Drivers nominate their second ‘out of state’ round at least 10 days prior to their selected event.
HEAT 1 – ARC2
1. #7 MARKOVIC/ FEAVER 1:15:12.3
2. #13 MORTON/PENNY 1:16:46.0 (+01:33.7)
3. #12 PENNY/LLEWELLYN 1:16:48.5 (+01:36.2)
4. #9 HAYES/HAYES 1:18:25.1 (+03:12.8)
5. #10 BROWN/DALE 1:20:42.8 (+05:30.5)
6. #19 LENNANE/RAMIA 1:22:11.1 (+06:58.8)
7. #50 CHU/MAO 1:45:25.5 (+30:13.2)
8. #5 RAYMOND/CATFORD 1:25:31.7 DNF
9. #20 RAYMOND/ECCLES (missed 2 stages) 1:33:18.2
HEAT 2 – ARC2
1. #5 RAYMOND/CATFORD 44:05.4
2. #7 MARKOVIC/FEAVER 47:26.5 (+03:21.1)
3. #12 PENNY/LLEWELLYN 48:20.3 (+04:14.9)
4. #9 HAYES/HAYES 48:56.7 (+04:51.3)
5. #19 LENNANE/RAMIA 50:59.7 (+06:54.3)
6. #20 RAYMOND/ECCLES 55:53.0 (+11:47.6)
7. #50 CHU/MAO 1:04:40.6 (+20:35.2)
8. #13 MORTON/PENNY (missed 2 stages) 59:50.4
2018 CAMS ARC2 – Driver Pointscore after Round 1
1. Brad Markovic 38 pts
2. Glen Raymond 30 pts
3. Andrew Penny 28 pts
4. Ben Hayes 21 pts
5. Wayne Morton 20 pts
6. Jason Lennane 15 pts
7. Jamie Pohlner 13 pts
8. Matt Raymond 10 pts
8. Haowen Chu 10 pts
10. Gary Brown 0 pts
10. Ben Kittle 0 pts
10. Aaron Bowering 0 pts