Glenn Brinkman and Harvey Smith have continued their dominant form in the MTA NSW Rally Championship to win the Kosciusko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally.
The well-deserved victory also handed the Brinkman and Smith the driver and co-driver outright CAMS State Championships ahead of the final round next month.
The Mitsubish Lancer Evo 9 pilots got off to a faultless start, claiming a nine second opening stage win over fellow Evo 9 drivers Tristan Kent and Mike Behnke, before extending their lead to 17 seconds after the second stage victory.
A slow stage from Kent and Behnke saw them finish fifth and fall 20 seconds behind the leaders, as CAMS Australia Rally Championship regular Andrew Penny and Andrew Llewellyn took out their only stage for the day.
Following a third consecutive stage win, Brinkman and Smith then moved to their biggest lead of the day of 20 seconds despite sharing the win with Kent and Behnke.
Kent and Behnke made it two stage wins in a row, breaking the leaders’ win streak in the process to reduce the deficit by seven seconds, before reducing it a further six seconds in the next stage.
Poor weather conditions saw four of the final five stages cancelled, preventing the second placed Evo from catching the leaders, who held onto win the rally and the championship.
Consistent driving from Richard Shimon and Katie Fletcher in the Evo V11 saw them finish on the last step of the podium ahead of stage five winners Tom Dermody and Eoin Moynihan.
Despite winning the final stage of the day, Tom Clarke and Ryan Preston rounded out the top-five following a disappointing third stage, which saw them finish ninth.
It was heartbreak for title contenders JJ Hatton and Nathan Long with the pair failing to finish the first stage, despite a later attempt to get back on the field, ending Hatton’ tilt at the championship, while Tim Wilkins and Jim Gleeson finished the outright championship in third.
The MTA NSW Rally Championship’s final round for the year will be at the Kennards Hire Rally Australia, which also hosts the final round of the CAMS Australian Rally Championship and World Rally Championship.
The Kennards Hire Rally Australia takes place on 16-18 November along the Coffs Coast in New South Wales.