Pedder and Macneall strike first in dramatic Forest Rally

Scott Pedder and Glenn Macneall have taken out top honours in Heat 1 of the 2024 Forest Rally after a dramatic first day of rallying in Western Australia.

With a strong field of more than 30 Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) crews tackling the second round of the 2024 season, Pedder and Macneall ended up taking out maximum points on the opening day after beating Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey by 23 seconds.

Rounding out the top three for the Heat were Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin, who overcame jet lag having arrived from a FIA World Rally Championship debut in Portugal earlier in the week.
With just one minute separating the top three crews at the end of the day’s six stages, it was an entertaining affair that was essentially decided in the day’s first three stages.

Photos: Dakar Press Team Australia

A strong start from Pedder and Macneall saw them win the opening stage and take advantage of an uncharacteristic error from Harry Bates and Coral Taylor, when the reigning champions hit a hole and broke the suspension of their Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 car.

Losing more than two minutes on the stage before being slapped with a penalty of one and a half minutes for being late to the SS2 checkpoint saw the Techworkz Automotive Rally of Canberra winners more than three minutes off the pace.
Harry and Taylor went on to win four of the day’s next five stages, however they couldn’t make up the big difference over the top three crews – eventually settling for fifth place.

Ahead of them, Pedder and Macneall enjoyed an entertaining scrap for the victory with both the Skoda Fabia R5 of Maguire and Brakey and the Toyota GR Yaris AP4 of Lewis and McLoughlin – the three crews switching stage positions within the top five throughout the day.

Maguire and Brakey did their best to reduce the gap on the leaders, but a strong performance from Pedder and Macneall on the final two stages helped them secure the Heat 1 Win.

Finishing the day in fourth place were Alex Rullo and Steve Glenney, who also claimed the day’s Motorsport Australia WA Rally Championship honours over the sixth placed Dylan King and Abbey Hayes by 33 seconds.

Ending Heat 1 in seventh place respectively were Steve Maguire and Ben Searcy in their Skoda Fabia Evo, beating the Toyota GR Yaris of Jamie and Bradley Luff by more than a minute.

With Peter Rullo and James Marquet sneaking into ninth on the day’s final stage, rounding out the top 10 were Mainfix ARC Production Cup winners Molly Taylor and Andy Sarandis, who just beat Cup rivals Craig Rando and Scott Beckwith by four seconds.

A challenging morning for Taylor and Sarandis saw the duo trailing Rando and Beckwith by one second at the midway point of the day, however a resounding fightback in the afternoon saw them take the lead on the fourth stage and eventually the Heat victory.

In the other Cups, Glenn Alcorn and Jonathan Charlesson comfortably won the Trenching Systems Australia 2WD Classic Cup by more than two minutes, while Dave and Kelly Thomas secured the Heat win for the ARC 2WD Cup.

View the Heat’s full results via the Subaru Results Hub.

The 2024 Forest Rally resumes tomorrow with the timesheets resetting for Heat 2.

Awaiting crews are 76 competitive kilometres over five stages, including the Galvaniize Insurance Power Stage, with the action to begin at 9:13am AWST.