Harding/Thornburn lead Lake Mountain Sprint Day 1

Michael Harding and James Thornburn

Michael Harding and James Thornburn

After some trying conditions on Saturday, Michael Harding and James Thornburn led the way at the end of day one of the Lake Mountain Sprint with their Super Rally class Subaru Impreza WRX STi.

With 96 kilometres completed through eight stages, they had a 16.3s advantage over Paul Dowie and Bernie Webb (Modern 2WD Porsche 911 GT3 RS) who had a bare two seconds on Barrie Smith and Anthony McLoughlin (Modern AWD Audi TT RS).

The event started on wet roads with rain and little snow.

The first stage, as is the case with all events of the Australian Tarmac Rally series, was an observation stage before competition began in earnest on stage two.

Dowie won the second stage ahead of Richard and Chris Perini (Mercedes-AMG A45), Jeremy Dennison and Casey Rumble (Rally Challenge BMW M140i).

Smith was eighth and Harding ninth.

On the next stage Smith was the winner ahead of Dennison, Harding, and Jamie Whitmore and Pete Hellwig (Rally Sport Porsche Cayman).

Smith took out stage four ahead of Harding and Downie who then won the fifth from Dennison, Scott Coppleman and Matt Van Rooye (WRX), and Neil and Sue Cuthbert (Lotus Exige 350 Sport), as they tied for fourth with Harding.

Harding won stage six from Smith and Downie before Jason and Fiona Wright (Nissan R35 GT-R) pipped Harding and Dowie on the penultimate stage.

On the last for the day, Harding was a clear 13 second victor over Dowie, Smith and Wright.

Keith Morling and Tracey Dewhurst (Ford Escort MkII) head Classic by two minutes 32 seconds, over Bruce Power and Russell Hannah (Mazda RX-7), with Peter Gluskie and Ray Farrell (BMW E30 325e) third after a little off-road inciden

Before the start of day two, stewards have flipped the stages and will run Marysville to Cumberland Junction first and give the Lake Mountain run a chance to dry out.

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