Jack Rhodes and David Pullino have won the Tatts Finke Desert Race for the first time after overnight leader Toby Price suffered a mechanical failure on the return leg.
While the two-time Dakar Rally winner looked primed to add a Cars victory to the six he has taken in the Bikes category of the Finke Desert Race, his Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck failed to proceed between the Mt Squires and Bundooma checkpoints.
That gave Rhodes/Pullino the opportunity to complete an impressive comeback in the 2019 edition, which they started with a rollover in Saturday’s Prologue that left them 14th in the road order for the out leg.
The triumph comes after four podium finishes (second in 2014, 2015; third in 2017, 2018) for the Adelaide duo.
“I can’t believe we’ve come from that far back to win it,” said Rhodes.
“I think with everything in the years leading up to this has made it even sweeter.
“It’s been a mental journey, but we’re here.”
Pullino, Rhodes’ navigator, added, “We’ve finally done it.
“To be the bridesmaid so many times… it’s been a great effort to get there on the podium that many times, but this is so much sweeter now. The top step is awesome.”
CLICK HERE for more from the winners.
Their aggregate time for the there-and-back event was 3hr:43min:25.4s, putting them 9min:26.3s clear of runners-up Josh Howells/Eric Hume, who also campaigned a Jimco Aussie Special Nissan 3500cc.
Behind the two Pro Buggy contenders was the Prolite-leading pair of Brent Martin/Andre De Simone at almost another nine minutes further back in their Jimco 3500cc.
Rounding out the top five were Mark Burrows/Matthew Burrows (Pro class MBR Jimco Buggy Holden 3500cc) and six-time event winners Shannon Rentsch/Ian Rentsch (Pro class Jimco Aussie Special 3500cc), who suffered a flat tyre on the way down to Finke.
They nevertheless banked solid points in their quest to defend their title in the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, of which Finke is Round 2.
The AORC concludes with the Rainbow Desert Enduro on August 9-11.
Bikes report to follow this afternoon
Cars: Leg 2, 2019 Tatts Finke Desert Race (Top 10)
|Pos||Class||Num||Driver/Co-Driver/Navigator||Vehicle||Day 1||Day 2||Overall||Diff|
|1||Pro||91||JACK RHODES DAVID PULLINO||JIMCO AUSSIE SPECIAL NISSAN 3500cc||1:51:56.4||1:50:28.9||3:42:25.4|
|2||Pro||3||JOSH HOWELLS ERIC HUME||JIMCO AUSSIE SPECIAL NISSAN 3500cc||1:54:48.9||1:57:02.7||3:51:51.7||+0:09:26.3|
|3||Prolite||120||BRENT MARTIN ANDRE DE SIMONE||JIMCO 3500CCcc||1:57:29.7||2:03:12.0||4:00:41.7||+0:18:16.3|
|4||Pro||21||MARK BURROWS MATTHEW BURROWS||MBR JIMCO BUGGY HOLDEN 3500CCcc||1:58:20.2||2:02:38.2||4:00:58.4||+0:18:33.0|
|5||Pro||1||SHANNON RENTSCH IAN RENTSCH||JIMCO BUGGY 3500CCcc||2:01:36.7||1:59:50.4||4:01:27.1||+0:19:01.7|
|6||Prolite||133||DALE MARTIN ADRIAN ROWE ADRIAN ROWE||TATUM NISSAN 3500cc||1:58:52.1||2:02:52.3||4:01:44.5||+0:19:19.1|
|7||Pro||42||DANNY BROWN GEORGE APTED||ALUMI CRAFT CHEVROLET 6000cc||2:05:10.9||2:07:55.6||4:13:06.5||+0:30:41.1|
|8||Pro||54||TROY HIGGINS JOHN SIMMONS||PRO BUGGY cc||2:08:00.1||2:06:23.6||4:14:23.7||+0:31:58.3|
|9||Pro||25||CRAIG MARTIN BRENT MARTIN BENJAMIN DAWSON||ALPHA CHEV LSV8 6000CCcc||2:01:48.3||2:13:01.3||4:14:49.6||+0:32:24.2|
|10||X2WD||401||BRETT TAYLOR PETER TREIS CHRIS HINSPETER||JIMCO TOYOTA cc||2:07:32.4||2:11:34.7||4:19:07.1||+0:36:41.7|