Nathan Quinn’s 2017 CAMS Australian Rally Championship campaign is back on track after a win in heat one of Lightforce Rally SA.
Coffs Coast Rally Team’s Quinn and co-driver Ben Searcy claimed six stage wins on the way to their day one victory and lead Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor and Bill Hayes by 28 seconds heading into day two.
Taylor and Hayes were fastest on two of the last four stages, but Quinn was still able to extend his lead by a further eight seconds during the night stages.
Contel Mobile Communications’ Craig Brooks and Steve Glenney put in a great drive to finish the day in third outright and lead the ARC2 class; today’s result could see them secure their place in the winner-takes-all ARC2 final at Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
Their competition in the ARC2 class, Maximum Motorsport’s John O’Dowd and Ken Sheil, also had a strong day, rounding out the top five behind Koscziusko Automotive Rally Team’s Andrew and Kirra Penny in fourth.
Toyota Genuine Parts’ Harry Bates and John McCarthy, championship leaders heading into round four, were sidelined before the first stage. Their new Toyota Yaris AP4 suffered an engine misfire on Saturday. The pair started the event but immediately returned to the service park. Despite working frantically all afternoon to fix the issue the team were unable to rejoin heat one; they will now aim for a start in heat two tomorrow.
In the ARC 2WD class, Ryde Auto Group’s Adam Kaplan and Alehsia Penny have continued to dominate, taking heat one honours after the close battle with Lewis Bates and Dale Moscatt ended prematurely due to alternator failure on the Toyota Corolla during stage five.
A number of competitors suffered mechanical issues today; CAMS ARC2 leader Tony Sullens made an early exit from the event, blowing the engine in his Subaru Impreza WRX STi on stage one. McM Rallysport’s Stephen Mee and Matthew Harriot broke a drive shaft not once but twice. The pair needed a good result this weekend to have any chance of securing a top three finish in the ARC2 2WD class and claiming a ticket to Kennards Hire Rally Australia; they will try again tomorrow.
CAMS ARC Heat 1 Results:
1. 4 QUINN/SEARCY 1:05:24.4
2. 1 TAYLOR/HAYES 1:05:52.6 +00:28.2
3. 7 BROOKS/GLENNEY 1:09:17.1 +03:52.7
4. 8 PENNY/PENNY 1:11:42.0 +06:17.6
5. 9 O’DOWD/SHEIL 1:12:19.3 +06:54.9
6. 510 CALDER/CALDICOTT 1:14:01.9 +08:37.5
7. 10 KAPLAN/PENNEY 1:15:36.1 +10:11.7
8. 11 DUNN/NEAGLE 1:19:37.0 +14:12.6