Pinter wins in the Capital
Rising Rally Star, Rhys Pinter endured mixed fortunes at the weekend’s National Capital Rally. Seeded at car 16 in his regular Ford Fiesta R2, Rhys was determined to put on a good showing at his home event and get a fantastic result in front of new major partner, JDH Capital.
The two-day event covered 230km of special stages and with mixed surfaces created a challenge for the local talent and international Co-Driver, Phil Hall.
Day 1 was based out at Kowen Forest with both Rhys and Phil realising that the fast roads was all about time consolidation to the more powerful 4wd cars.
After a slow start in the morning’s opening test, some changes were made on the road section prior to the faster and longer stages and the changes worked.
The JDH Capital Fiesta was punching well above their weight setting some impressive times against the more fancied international competitors. This continued well into the day including setting top 10 times through the short Homestead stages.
‘We were having a fantastic run, I fluffed the first stage which was probably down to nerves, but made a reset and from stage 2 we were on it. It was great to receive feedback from spectators and supporters saying we were pushing hard and looking great.’ Said Pinter
Unfortunately, with just 7km to go in day 1 a suspension failure meant Rhys and Phil were sent into the shrubs and their day was done.
‘The car never missed a beat all day, until we punched out of a corner and there was a slight right hand turn and the car went straight on. I was really lucky to have some steering to avoid a stump but was very disappointing considering the day we were having’
The positive was it was only minor damage with the team able to make the necessary repairs for day 2.
Day 2 of the event were based further south in the nation’s capital surrounding the Brindabella ranges. The stages were better suited to the Fiesta R2, however overnight and early morning rain meant again, the playing field would be levelled. After a disappointing opening stage, Rhys and Phil lit up the stage times in the following morning tests including setting the 9th fastest time in the APRC field against the 4wd cars in heavy rain conditions. Rhys lauded both he and Phil’s experience from the UK and competing in similar conditions just over a year ago.
‘The Cottage 5 stage was easily the toughest stage I’ve driven in’ explained Pinter, ‘It was wet and raining, then all of a sudden it started to pour down mid-way through the stage. However, given the experience I gained from the UK, I changed my driving style and Phil and I made it through. I told Phil I had no idea if I t was fast or slow but to get to service and see the times it put a great smile on my face!’
After the cancellation of an afternoon stage, Rhys and Phil consolidated their position and the little FWD Fiesta did its job, finishing an impressive 11th outright and taking out the 2wd class of the APRC.
‘It’s fantastic to get to the end and finally have a good result! However, after the weekend, I think it is time to step up into something more competitive to get even better results’ said Pinter.
After the great result, Rhys has put international rallies back on his agenda.
‘It’s really good to have such great support, especially from JDH Capital and Atlantic Oils who were stoked with my driving and result. We are looking into which rallies overseas will benefit both parties so watch this space!’