Jack a Super Seventh after drama filled day in Queensland.
After one of the most dramatic days recorded in Australian Rallying's long and chequered history, South Australian Jack Monkhouse has recorded his best Globalstar Australian Rally Championship Heat finish of the season, taking a strong 7th position in the opening leg of the Coates Rally of Queensland.
In a day's rallying that claimed many key GARC contenders, Monkhouse and co driver Rebecca Cochrane held their nerve to steer their Cochrane Rallysport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII to some impressive stage times on the tricky Queensland roads throughout the Caloundra area that the event is based in.
Monkhouse's strong result wasn't without drama itself though, a number of niggling problems - and one more major one -- delaying the crew long enough to ensure them that a higher result is definitely achievable in Sunday's second heat given a trouble free run.
A broken intercom slowed the combination in the opening two stages, Monkhouse having to back off and rely on his own stage knowledge to complete the course safely. "We lost a heap of time on Stage one," Jack said. "The road was pretty diabolical and I had to take it really easy without any pace notes to make sure we didn't throw the rally away in the opening stage."
Blazing onto the comeback trail once the intercom was repaired, Monkhouse set a series of increasingly quick stage times to lift the pair up the outright order. 3rd fastest on SS3 -- the 12.62km Western 1 stage -- was Jack's best stage result of the season and a sign of the potential the Monkhouse / Evo VII Lancer combination holds.
It was all going smoothly until two stages from home, when holding down 6th position on the 23.3km SS8 (Tower Road) the car landed roughly on a jump and bent an engine coolant pipe -- instantly causing the car to loose power and slow dramatically.
"We had been backing off for all the jumps throughout the day where others had been taking them flat," Explained Monkhouse. "But on this one we landed hard and nosed the car in on landing - I think we actually hit a TV camera that was set into the side of the creek - It bent the coolant pipe and the car lost a stack of power. From there we just took it easy and made sure we got to the finish to score some points for the championship and for Mitsubishi."
And score points he did -- a strong 7th place finish his first points for the season and a strong addition to the points scored by Factory Mitsubishi Driver Scott Pedder, who finished the heat a gallant 3rd after rolling early in the day.
Jack said that he was happy with the pace showed throughout the day.
"I think we proved early on today that we have more than enough pace to take it up to (Leading privateer contender) Brad (Goldsbrough)," he enthused. "The car is excellent and I think we can go even better in heat two."
The opening stage of heat two was also run at the conclusion of today's opening leg of the rally, a short blast around a super special stage in front of a huge crowd just a teaser before the action returns to the Queensland Forrest's tomorrow.
Monkhouse was classified only 19th on the "Caloundra Capers" stage -- but being unable to resist the urge to show off to the big crowd on hand, Jack turned the 1km sprint into something of a drifting exhibition.
"Whilst everyone else went into the stage with scuffed tyres specially for the stage, we went into it with our forest tyres and it was just hugely slippery," grinned the 24-year-old. "So we did a bit of a drifting demonstration for the crowd and used the handbrake a bit. I think we are the crowd favourite now because we got a huge cheer!
"We are only 8 seconds down so we are still looking good for tomorrow when we get back out into the forests." He said.
A further seven stages and 110 competitive kilometres will make up the remainder of tomorrow's second leg of the Coates Rally of Queensland. <pre> Coates Rally of Queensland -- Heat 1 results 1. Cody Crocker Subaru) 2. Dean Herridge Subaru +0:49.5s 3. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer Evo +1m48.4s 4. Simon Evans Toyota +2m10.2s 5. Brad Goldsbrough Subaru +2m19.4s 6. Steve Glenny Subaru +3m16.8s 7. Jack Monkhouse Cochrane Rallysport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII +4m41.4