Arron Windus has walked away from the 2019 MRF Tyres Akadamos Rally as the CAMS Hino Geelong Victorian Rally Champion, despite not finishing the season finale.
Only needing to finish in the top 10 of the first heat, Windus did that and more, earning a heat victory and confirming himself as the champion after a stellar year behind the wheel alongside Daniel Brick.
However the duo’s celebration party was short-lived when they crashed in the second stage of second heat – their car was too badly damaged to continue, forcing the them out to miss out on the rest of the rally.
Pouncing on the 2019 champion’s rare error, Richie Dalton and Dale Moscatt clicked into gear to storm home and claim the round win ahead of Darren Windus and Daniel Brkic, while Ivan Regester and Paul Humm rounded out the podium.
Whilst Windus may have had a bittersweet ending to his maiden title, the youngster will still thrilled to come away with the win, lauding his team for their work.
“It’s a cool feeling to take out the title. The crash overshadowed the win a little bit but at the end of the day, I’m still pretty excited with the whole year,” Windus said.
“It’s settling in a little bit more now but I feel the win is more of a team effort than anything. I played a very small role in the whole year compared to what’s involved.
“It’s a massive effort and I am super proud of everyone and very thankful to our sponsors like Hoosier Racing Tyres and Modern Engineering. It’s been a mega effort to pull it off.
“In heat one, I felt there was a lot of pressure to get it done because there was a fair bit happening before the event. We didn’t expect to win it and our plan was just to finish, but we got into a groove and got to win by one second, which was a bonus.”
As for the winner of the event, Dalton was just happy to come away unscathed having not competed since his Rally of the Bay victory earlier this year.
“For us, the weekend was more a test before the CAMS Australian Rally Championship’s final round next month but the win was definitely a bonus,” Dalton said.
“It all went according to plan which is really nice. We weren’t after a result. It wasn’t the agenda. We just wanted to get through the event which we did and it was great to have a clean run.
“There was a lot to test out including a new gear box we had put in the car so we wanted to test that out.
“We haven’t sat in a car since our Rally of the Bay win in June and we have a bit of cobwebs, so this is the perfect preparation for Rally Australia next month.”
Coming in fourth place was Justin Walker and Balise McNamara with the pair also securing a runner-up position for the outright Championship, while a fifth place finish to Luke Sytema and Adam Wright saw them leapfrog Warren Lee and David Lethlean into third after the latter failed to finish the first heat.