The 2016 Quit Forest Rally has got off to a flying start with 42 crews contesting the Trade Hire Busselton Stage around Barnard Park and the Busselton Foreshore tonight.
Simon Evans and Ben Searcy are in the lead following the two tarmac runs and will head into the plantation forests around Nannup with a 1.7 second lead over their nearest rivals.
The pairing of Mark Pedder and Dale Moscatt were quickest out of the blocks on the opening 2.71 kilometre stage followed by Evans/Searcy and Harry Bates/John McCarthy in third.
Evans/Searcy took the honours in the second run followed closely by the Western Australian pairing of Brad Markovic/Glenn MacNeall and Bates/McCarthy. Pedder/Moscatt dropped 2.4 seconds to the leaders on the second run which dropped them back to fourth outright heading into the forest.
Australian Rally legends Neal Bates and Coral Taylor are contesting the Australian Classic 2WD Rally Challenge and proved to be the ones to beat out of the entire field, posting the two fastest times of the night. If they were contesting the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship® they would be leading Evans/Searcy by almost 4 seconds.
The crew of Sean Keating and Caleb Ash will take a tiny 0.3 second lead into the forest stages in the Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship.
Keating/Ash took the opening stage by 0.5 seconds over Brad Markovic/Glenn MacNeall with Tom Wilde/Nick Clements rounding out the top three.
Markovic/MacNeall took honours in the second stage by 0.2 seconds with a great run by Doug Tostevin and Tammy Adams enough for them to leap-frog Wilde/Clements into third outright in the WARC after the opening two stages.
The competition will now head to Nannup where teams will contest a further eight stages tomorrow in a bid to take Heat One honours.
The Quit Forest Rally is being held in Busselton and Nannup from the 22nd – 24th of April 2016. The event is the opening round of the Kumho Tyre Australian Rally Championship® and the Onslow Contracting Western Australian Rally Championship.