Multi-time champs top Finke Prologues

Shannon/Ian Rentsch pic: Finke Desert Race

Multi-time Kings of the Desert Toby Price and Shannon/Ian Rentsch have started the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race with the fastest Prologue times in Bikes and Cars respectively.

Cars

In the Cars field, Shannon and Ian Rentsch kicked off their fifth title defence with the fastest time in the Prologue.

Rentsch (#33 Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc) clocked a 4:44.4s lap on his second attempt after his first was affected by a yellow flag shown in response to Jack Rhodes (#91 Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc) rolling over.

That time was 5.7s faster than last year’s pole time and 5.2s faster than Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt (#413 Geiser Bros TT Chev 6000cc), who were runners up in last year’s Finke.

“It was pretty nerve-wracking seeing Jack rolled over and having to do it all again but lucky enough we were able to go a couple of seconds quicker in the second prologue,” said Shannon Rentsch.

“We were hoping to get a win in the prologue, conditions are really dry and dusty so it’s going to be a bit of an advantage, especially for the first 30 to 40 kilometres of the track.

“We have a long way ahead of us yet and we have some pretty big trucks behind us so I’m wary of that and hopefully we can get to Finke in first position.

“Each year it seems to get a bit rougher in sections… in the middle it’s probably as rough as it’s ever been and up the other end it’s been graded which probably suits us (pro buggies) a bit more.

“But anything can happen and we have to hold everything together and cross our fingers.”

Jamie Jennings and Mark Hannaford (#410 Geiser Bros Ford Raptor TT Ford 6000cc) were third-fastest.

Price’s attempt to win both titles got off to a promising start when he and Jason Duncan (#487 2017 Geiser built 6L V8 Chev 360cc) went fourth-fastest.

Cars: Prologue, 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race (Top 10)

Pos Class Num Driver/Co-driver/Navigator Vehicle Time/Split
1 PRO 33 Shannon Rentsch/Ian Rentsch Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc 00:04:44.4
2 X2WD 413 Beau Robinson/Shane Hutt Geiser Bros TT Chev 6000cc +0:00:05.2
3 X2WD 410 Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings/Mark Hannaford Geiser Bros Ford Raptor TT Ford 6000cc +0:00:11.0
4 X2WD 487 Toby Price/Jason Duncan 2017 Geiser Built 6L V8 Chev 360cc +0:00:11.1
5 PRO 15 Josh Howells/Bryan Erskine Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3480cc +0:00:12.1
6 PRO 7 Matt Hanson/Nigel Pendlebury Smu Jimco 2011 Ford 3500cc +0:00:12.6
7 PRO 32 Michael Marson/Chris Colbourne Racer Engineering Carbon Series Ford Windsor 6000cc +0:00:17.9
8 PRO 16 Talbot Cox/Andrew North Racer Engineering Carbon Series Toyota 5600cc +0:00:20.5
9 PRO 9 John Hederics/Paul Riordan Jimco Buggy Nissan 3500cc +0:00:21.5
10 PRO 27 John Towers/Bruce Young JT JT Lustrum Honda 3200cc +0:00:22.2

Toby Price

Bikes

Five-time champion Toby Price (#295 KTM 500 EXC-F) edged 2017 runner-up Ivan Long (#2 Husqvarna FE 450) by just 0.4s as both set impressive sub-five-minute laps of the 8.3km Prologue circuit.

Jacob Smith (#298 Honda CRF480R) and Alice Springs local Luke Hayes (#3 KTM 500 EXC-F) were next-best, while four-time Finke winner Ben Grabham (#698 Beta RR 480) was ninth on his return after three years away.

AFL/VFL highest goalscorer Tony Lockett (#894 KTM 500 EXC-F) ended the day 397th out of the 583 bikes that took the start.

The Rentschs will lead the field out for the 226km journey down to Finke tomorrow at 0745 ACST, before the Bikes leave at 1145.

Bikes: Prologue, 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race (Top 10)

Pos Class Num Rider Bike Time/Split
1 2 295 Toby Price KTM 500 EXC-F 00:04:58.0
2 5 2 Ivan Long Husqvarna FE 450 +0:00:00.4
3 2 298 Jacob Smith Honda CRF480R +0:00:02.1
4 2 3 Luke Hayes KTM 500 EXC-F +0:00:07.4
5 2 5 Sam Davie Husqvarna FE 501 +0:00:09.3
6 5 6 Nathan Trigg Sherco 450 SEF +0:00:13.2
7 2 4 Kent Collins KTM 500 EXC-F +0:00:15.0
8 5 13 Danny Leane Husqvarna FE 450 +0:00:16.3
9 6 698 Ben Grabham Beta RR 480 +0:00:16.4
10 5 X98 Callum Norton Honda CRF450R +0:00:16.6

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