Rentsch wins AORC Round 1 in St George

Shannon and Ian Rentsch

Shannon and Ian Rentsch have come from behind to snatch victory in Round 1 of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship in St George, Queensland.

Rentsch faced a deficit to Toby Whateley and Simon Herrmann of 3:37s ahead of the third and final section of the St George 399.

He looked like might have done enough on the final three, 41km laps to overhaul that margin, and it proved to be so when Whateley suffered a fuel pump issue.

Rentsch ended up winning by 3:14s in his Pro Buggy, while Whateley limped home to finish runner-up overall and take out the SXS Turbo class.

“It was a testing weekend,” said Rentsch.

“The conditions were pretty tough in the dust and a pretty challenging weekend. But it’s a good start to the championship for us.

“We got off to a pretty bad start yesterday in some dust with some lapped cars and lost a lot of time.

“Today we made up a bit of time in the first section and in the last section we caught up to Toby and got by him and we had a few clean laps. I really enjoyed the last three laps.

“(The) Best thing about it is the car is in one piece.

“I was a bit worried about hitting a tree or something silly this weekend, so it’s good it’s in one piece and we haven’t made too much work for ourselves getting to Finke (Round 2).”

Whateley was disappointed but at least satisfied that he had taken the fight to an eight-time Australian Off Road champion.

“I was shaking, nervous the whole way around knowing that Shannon was coming and then when I got that flat tyre knowing that we had to make time it was gut wrenching,” lamented the young South Australian.

“But we got second place and second place to an eight-time champion is not a bad thing I suppose.”

Third overall went to another SXS Turbo competitor in Phil Lovett/Paul Guenthen, the second entry of seven in the class that finished in the overall top 10.

Other class winners were Geoff Pickering/Dylan Watson in Production 4WD, Chris Browning/Chris Clarke in Prolite, Zachary Marsh/James Clarke in SXS Sport, and Hans Werner Zettl in Super 1650.

Chris Mingay was a notable retirement having damaged suspension in his Raptor tt Trophy Truck when he hit a tree.

Round 2 of AORC is its blue riband event, the Tatts Finke Desert Race in Alice Springs on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend (June 8-11).

Sunday wrap: St George 399

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