Monkhouse king of the Mount after early season rally win.
April 25th, 2005 - Rising South Australian Rally star Jack Monkhouse proved yesterday that the positive pre season speculation surrounding his chances of success in this year's Globalstar Australian Rally Championship have not been unfounded, winning the Rally of Mt. Gambier in his first time behind the wheel of his newly purchased Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VII.
Monkhouse, alongside SARC co-driver Rebecca Cochrane, used the challenging event - held in South Australia's picturesque South East township of Mt. Gambier and it's surrounds - as an extended test session in preparation for the upcoming opening round of the national championship in Western Australia set to be held mid may.
After raising eyebrows with his aggressive style in an ageing (and now somewhat famous) Galant VR4 on the national scene last year, the 24-year-old driver said that driving the newer model Mitsubishi -- the same car driven successfully by Rally legend Ed Ordynski in 2003 -- took a bit of getting used to.
"I was a bit tentative early on in the rally while I was finding my feet with the car," he said. "The Lancer really rewards a tidy and smooth driving style which I had to adapt to, because I had to drive the old Galant very aggressively to be competitive.
"The handling and turn in that this car has is just fantastic. The level of grip and traction that the car also really surprised me today, it took a little bit to get used to. Once I changed my style it all came together and went really, really well."
With the opening round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship under a month away, the Mount Gambier event served as the perfect warm up event for Monkhouse and the team.
"It was actually a really enjoyable event and great preparation for the first round of the National Series," he commented afterwards. "It was a fast and flowing event and we saw 200kph on one stage. It was lots of fast open council roads and then some tight stuff amongst the pine trees in the forest -- a real challenge."
Monkhouse and regular ARC Co driver Darren Masters will be competing in the full 2005 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship, one of the strongest domestic Rally championships in the world. The series' spans the nation, visiting each state over the course of six demanding rounds.
Alongside attempting to win the ARC Privateers Cup this season (the pair finished 2nd in the class last season), the team will also receive some support from the factory Team Mitsubishi Ralliart outfit in an effort to help Mitsubishi motors regain the coveted ARC Manufacturers championship this season.