Victorians Shannon and Ian Rentsch have won the Tatts Finke Desert Race for a fifth time after a devastating mechanical failure for Travis Robinson.
The son and father pairing returned to Alice Springs in an aggregate time of 3:42:40.9s in their #33 Jimco Nissan 3500cc, having placed second at the overnight stop in Finke.
The Rentsch/Rentsch team also won the Finke in 2005, 2006, 2014, and 2015, and join David Fellows and Mark Burrows as five-time champions.
Travis Robinson/Trent Anthony (#13 Jimco OBR Nissan 3500cc) set the fastest on the 226km journey to Finke, and were still leading when they suffered a power steering failure after the Rodinga checkpoint, approximately 90km from the finish.
“I knew it was going to be tough, I actually didn’t think we would catch up to Trav,” said Shannon Rentch.
“The car was working really well and I just tried to push really hard when we had a clear track in front of us.
“We got within about 30 seconds of him and then at about the 100km mark out of Alice Springs he was pulled up beside the road.”
“(The Finke is) the biggest race for us; everyone wants to win it.
“It’s the Bathurst of off-road, hard on man and machine and it’s just unbelievable to get the job done.”
Beau Robinson (#413 Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck Chev 6000cc) improved one position on his 2016 result to finish runner-up with navigator Shane Hutt, having left Finke in third position.
Jack Rhodes/David Pulino (#1 Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc) completed the podium, ahead of Michael Marson/Chris Colborne (#32 Racer Engineering 2012 Ford 6000cc) and Steven Sanderson/Tahlia O’Cass (#3 Jimco Trophy Truck KRE 6000cc).
American off-road star Harley Letner (#59 Tatum 2005 Chev 6000cc) made up six positions on Day 2 to finish seventh on his debut with navigator Luke Ayers.
Other non-finishers included 2016 Bikes champion and Cars runner-up Toby Price, 2012 winner Brad Gallard, and two-time winner Hayden Bentley.
Travis Robinson continues to lead the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, for which the Finke forms Round 2, with the final round at Victoria’s Rainbow Enduro on August 4-6.
The Bikes field is expected to start filing into Alice Springs from 1400 ACST.
Top 10: Overall: Cars, 2017 Tatts Finke Desert Race
|Pos||Class||Car||Sponsor/Competitor||Driver/Co-Driver/Navigator||Vehicle||Day 1||Day 2||Overall||Gap To Leader|
|1||Pro||33||SR Racing/Shannon Rentsch||Shannon Rentsch (VIC)/Ian Rentsch (VIC)||Jimco Buggy Nissan 3500cc||01:51:58.4||01:50:42.4||03:42:40.9|
|2||X2WD||413||OBR/Beau Robinson||Beau Robinson (WA)/Shane Hutt (NSW)||Geiser Bros Trophy Truck Chev 6000cc||01:54:15.7||01:51:42.7||03:45:58.4||+00:03:17.5|
|3||Pro||1||Rhodes Racing – #91/Jack Rhodes||Jack Rhodes (SA)/David Pulino (SA)||Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc||01:54:47.4||01:56:09.3||03:50:56.7||+00:08:15.8|
|4||Pro||32||Marson Racing/Michael Marson||Michael Marson (QLD)/Chris Colborne (QLD)||Racer Engineering CA 2012 Ford 6000cc||02:08:47.6||02:02:53.2||04:11:40.8||+00:28:59.9|
|5||X2WD||3||Jaws Racing/Steven Sanderson||Steven Sanderson (NT)/Tahlia O’Cass (NT)||Jimco Trophy Truck KRE 6000cc||02:09:59.1||02:02:42.2||04:12:41.3||+00:30:00.4|
|6||ProLite||135||Mowles Motorsport/Andrew Mowles||Andrew Mowles (NT)/Matthew Morgan (NT)||Razorback 2010 Nissan 3500cc||02:07:49.4||02:10:01.5||04:17:51.0||+00:35:10.1|
|7||Pro||59||Ayers Racing/Luke Ayers||Harley Letner (CA)/Luke Ayers (QLD)||Tatum 2005 Chev 6cc||02:17:47.3||02:05:12.9||04:23:00.2||+00:40:19.3|
|8||Pro||16||Talbot Cox||Talbot Cox (QLD)/Andrew North (QLD)||Racer Engineering Carbon Series Toyota 5600cc||02:26:10.3||02:04:50.3||04:31:00.6||+00:48:19.7|
|9||Pro||23||Peter Costello||Peter Costello (NT)/Ben Brooks (NT)||Jimco 2000 Toyota 3500cc||02:23:43.1||02:07:42.4||04:31:25.5||+00:48:44.6|
|10||ProLite||131||CNC Racing/Chris Browning||Chris Browning (NSW)/Chris Clarke (QLD)||Alumi Craft 2013 Nissan 3500cc||02:27:03.4||02:11:25.1||04:38:28.6||+00:55:47.7|