Perfect Pedder claims Heat 1 win in Gympie

Scott Pedder and Glenn Macneall enjoyed the perfect start to the 2024 Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland after picking up a clean sweep of stage wins in Heat 1.

In what was a chaotic first day of the third Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) round of the 2024 season, Pedder and Macneall produced a masterclass effort across the eight stages, taking out the Heat by almost one minute.

In second place behind the Pedders Suspension and Brakes Skoda Fabia R5 was Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey, who also enjoyed a highly consistent day out, with six runner-up finishes.

The top two seemed in a league of their own during the day having been able to handle the challenging conditions with ease, as Steve Maguire and Ben Searcy were able to take out third place more than a minute behind Eddie, completing a Skoda top three lockout.

Photos: CH Images

While the trio of Skodas enjoyed a memorable day in Gympie, the same couldn’t be said for Toyota, who saw both Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia crews out of the event by the end of day’s first set of stages.

Current ARC leaders Harry Bates and Coral Taylor were the first to go when they crashed just 2.2km into the first stage, before their teammates Lewis Bates and Anthony McLoughlin had a bigger off on the fourth stage of the day – a rollover seeing the pair unable to take any further part in the action.

Despite the retirements of the two champion drivers, Pedder was certainly deserving of the Heat win, having been highly consistent throughout the whole day.

“The pace is really good, ‘G-Mac’ (Macneall) is doing a really good job and the team is doing a really good job as well,” Pedder said.

“The package is there, you’ve just got to get all those things moving in the right direction and today they did.

“It’s a different rally tomorrow, quite twisty and a different area I haven’t been to before. So we’re going to need to do some study tonight.”

With Pedder the obvious standout performer, another notable effort belonged to Clayton Hoy, who finished the day’s eight stages just 24 seconds off Steve and Searcy in fourth place, as well as claiming the day’s MainFix ARC Production Cup.

The battle for fourth and the Production Cup proved a thrilling affair, as Hoy and Andrew Bennett held off a late charge from Molly Taylor Andy Sarandis to secure fourth and the Production Cup title, as well as topping the KickAss Products Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship (QRC) table after eight stages.

Not far behind the two Production Cup rivals was the highest placed Toyota for the day, with Jamie and Bradley Luff in sixth place a further 17 seconds behind, while a stunning final stage of the day from Ryan Williams and Brad Jones saw the pair snatch seventh place from Peter Rullo and James Marquet by four tenths.

Rounding out the top 10 was the returning Bodie Reading and Mark Young in ninth and local young guns Josh Wiedman and Nick Reid.

In the other class battles, Ryan Smart and Holly Kilbride finished the day in 12th overall and with the Trenching Systems Australia 2WD Classic Cup Heat victory, while two places below them were ARC Junior Cup winners Mitch Garrad and Taylah Murphy.

Justin Northage and Scott Muhling rounded out the class winners, taking out top honours in the ARC 2WD Cup.

View the full results via the Subaru Results Hub.

The Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland resumes tomorrow with Heat 2 starting from 8:55am AEST