Honda’s Mark Pedder has recorded his maiden two wheel drive heat win after a thrilling opening of Rally Victoria, the final round of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship.
After six stages of competition Pedder finished with a 29 second lead over Tasmanian young gun Stephen Turner who made an impressive debut Bosch ARC drive of the new R2 spec Ford Fiesta.
“It’s great to claim a heat win in my first year in the two wheel drive ranks,” said Pedder.
“We’ve had some frustrating moments throughout the year but to have a win to my name makes it all worth it.”
Matt Amos maintained his momentum from Coffs Harbour to claim third a further 16.5 seconds off Turner.
Simon Evans was unbeaten in the first four stages but a drama on return to the service park saw the Mazda2 relegated to sixth position.
Champion elect Eli Evans fell down the order after a puncture for him and co-driver Glen Weston to stop and change the tyre costing them more than three minutes on stage 2.
Reigning champion Justin Dowel encountered some teething problems in his return to the Bosch ARC with his new Volkswagen Polo G2 suffering drive train issues in the opening two kilometres of the first stage. However Dowel was able to re-join after service and will continue in today’s second heat.
Will Orders took out the four wheel drive division in his Mitsubishi Evo V by 24.4 seconds over 2012 champion Michael Boaden in his Evo IX.
“It’s great to be back competing in the Australian Rally Championship and to claim a win on return,” Will Orders said.
“Hopefully we can have another good battle with Boaden throughout the second heat.”
Lancer Evo VII driver John Mitchell finished in third place – 59.9 seconds off Boaden.
In the Australian Classic Rally challenge Neal Bates in the RA40 Celica set the pace all day and finished with a one minute, six second lead over the Ford Escort of Grant Walker.
Matt van Tuinen in the Subaru WRX STi finished a further five seconds behind and withheld a late charge from four wheel drive Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Challenge Dane Berry by 0.7 seconds.
RAJC two wheel drive winner Adam Casmiri finished in sixth – 1 minute, 50 seconds off Berry.
Crews face another nine stages spread over 140 kilometres today finishing at 4:30pm.