Kaplan Mazda leads Adelaide Rally into final day

Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penney

Adam Kaplan and co-driver Aleshia Penney have moved into healthy lead ahead of the final day of the Shannons Adelaide Rally.

The pair now lead the rally by 58.6 seconds after a further eight stages on Friday.

The battle for second was the closest of the day, however, with the position swapping twice in the final few stages.

Matt Selley (Hartage BMW) had held second overall for the first six stages over the day, a stunning performance on SS17 (Chain of Ponds 2) saw Oscar Matthews edge past into second ahead of the final stage of the day, where he stayed.

Meanwhile, the arm-wrestle between Neal Bates and Ben Calder in the Modern Competition section again saw the pair trade stage victories in their battle for the class lead, Bates holding on by a small margin after an intensely competitive day.

The class is set to go down to the wire tomorrow as the rally heads to the roads in the South East.

The second day of the rally first took competitors for two trials at Mallala Motorsport Park north of the City, before returning to the Adelaide hills for two runs over three of the most famous stages in Adelaide tarmac rallying.

The Ansteys Hill, Chain of Ponds and Corkscrew stages are iconic in the sport and were twice run today, giving competitors a driving challenge.

Kaplan and Penney led the rally by 28 seconds overnight and immediately set about building their buffer in this morning’s stages: winning four of the first five runs of the day to build a lead of nearly 50 seconds by the lunch time break.

They pushed on further in the afternoon to head to Gouger street nearly a full minute in front.

The battle for second was remarkably competitive; less than 10 seconds splitting the Selley/Hartage BMW, Matthews’ Toyota and the Gunson Capri at the lunch break.

Matthews, however, charged in the afternoon.

Last year’s runner-up pushed his AE86 Corolla past Selley on the penultimate stage of the day and holding that margin in the final stage to hold a narrow grasp on second place.

The duo are split by just 5.1 seconds ahead of the final day.

In Modern Competition, Neal Bates and Coral Taylor edged out their 17-second overnight lead to make the margin 22 seconds heading into the final day.

A further 11 stages will complete the Shannons Adelaide Rally on Saturday.

The rally will head South of the city to iconic stages like Willunga Hill before finishing with a blast around the Victoria Park sprint to conclude the event.

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