SUBARU SAFARI HEAT ONE REPORT: CROCKER THANKS CREW AFTER VICTORY IN HEAT ONE GARC Series leader Cody Crocker has paid tribute to the efforts of his crew after winning the first heat of Tasmania's Subaru Safari, the third round of the...
SUBARU SAFARI HEAT ONE REPORT: CROCKER THANKS CREW AFTER VICTORY IN HEAT ONE
GARC Series leader Cody Crocker has paid tribute to the efforts of his crew after winning the first heat of Tasmania's Subaru Safari, the third round of the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship.
"It's been a fantastic day, and it's all the more sweeter because our crew had to complete a gearbox change in the first 20 minute service," said a delighted Crocker.
"Their hard work kept us in the game, and undoubtedly helped us to victory today."
Crocker won 10 of the day's 12 stages and finished the day with a margin of 39.6 seconds to Mitsubishi's Scott Pedder.
"Today I was fortunate to have got a lead and not have to push, some of stages were incredibly slippery." said Crocker.
"Now we just need to make sure we're ready for tomorrow stages, because it could all turn around very quickly for us"
After two accidents in as many rounds, Scott Pedder's runner-up placing in Heat One is the best result for himself, and Mitsubishi, so far this season.
"I did some soul searching after the previous round in Queensland and after watching some of the vision I realised I was probably overdriving the car, " said Pedder.
"I went back to square one and made the car easier to drive. Along with a more sensible driving approach, it seems to be working."
After the day's first three stages it was Toyota's Simon Evans who had assumed the early lead, but his challenge for outright victory was cut short when he and wife Sue rolled their Corolla on stage four.
"It was a very wet and slippery downhill section- and I had it marked in my notes- but I just had trouble slowing the car down," explained Evans.
"I missed the line on the corner, went out wide, and dropped the front of the car into the hole and it stopped on its roof. In my experience of rollovers it was a soft one."
Evans' crew replaced the Corolla's smashed windscreen at the next service break in Geeveston and sent him back out to contest the rest of the Heat.
Although out of contention for points, Evans consistently finished inside the top 5 for the day's remaining stages, proving he certainly has the pace to challenge for the Heat win tomorrow.
Neal Bates recovered from 24th to 8th, after a hose clamp broke early in the Heat, causing the Corolla to loose boost. The third factory Toyota of Ben Barker was forced to retire from the Heat with drive shaft problems on stage 9.
Juha Kangas spent much of the day trying to find a set up he was happy with, and finished the day in third. Privateers filled the rest of the top five positions.
Jack Monkhouse's 4th place finish is his best ever result in GARC competition.
"Today was pretty demanding but I can't complain, and the car is in mint condition which is an even bigger bonus!" said the Mitsubishi driver.
Steve Glenney, Brad Goldsbrough and Benni Tirant finished in 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.
It was a disappointing day for second SRTA driver Dean Herridge, who finished 9th and over 3 minutes behind the leaders.
"We lost a bunch of time on one stage early this morning when we had a minor off in the muddy conditions," explained Herridge.
"We then limped through the next couple of stages and never managed to recover the time we lost.
"In hindsight I was probably being more cautious than I thought- and this was compounded by the conditions- but I'm glad we've got a straight car for tomorrow."
Will Orders won the first heat in the Subaru RS Challenge, and finished 16th outright.
The Subaru Safari concludes on Sunday with a further 8 forestry stages around the Huon Valley in Tasmania's south.
SUBARU SAFARI HEAT TWO REPORT: THIRD WIN FOR CROCKER, FIRST PODIUM FOR MITSUBISHI
Cody Crocker has taken his third consecutive round win in the Globalstar Australian Rally Championship, adding the Subaru Safari Tasmania to his long list of victories.
"It's been a tough weekend, we've been flat out and pushed by everybody," said Crocker.
"Scott (Pedder), Simon (Evans), Juha (Kangas) and Dean (Herridge) have all been within seconds of each other on the stages and I think it has been one of the closest fought rallies for a long time...fortunately we happen to be at the top end of it!
"Its certainly not been easy, I think everything went right for us and everybody else had a bit of trouble which held them back at some stage."
Scott Pedder backed up his runner-up finish in yesterday's first Heat with another solid performance.
He finished the day 33.2 seconds behind Crocker, and claimed the second podium position for the round- his first podium finish this year, and also Mitsubishi's.
"I'm absolutely wrapt!" said the Mitsubishi Ralliart driver.
"I must give full credit to my team who worked so hard to get this car ready after my crash in Queensland.
"The plan was to run the car from Queensland at the next round in South Australia, but I might try to talk the team into using this one!"
Last year's Subaru Safari winner Juha Kangas was engaged in an intense battle with Dean Herridge and Scott Pedder over today's 8 stages. He finished the day 6.1 seconds behind Herridge, but his combined results over the two days saw him earn the final podium position.
"This is our third podium this year, and I'm obviously happy to have been on podium three times in last 4 rallies," said Kangas.
"Of course every driver always wants to win every rally, and that's certainly what I'm still aiming for."
Toyota's Simon Evans and Mitsubishi's Jack Monkhouse were just two of the front running drivers that lost time due to tyre punctures over today's stages.
Evans finished the Heat in 5th and over 45 seconds behind the leaders. His team mate Neal Bates suffered from problems with his Corolla's intercooler hose, and lost boost for almost 15 kilometres on the rally's longest stage.
The surprise performance of the day came from privateer Kevin Shaw, who was second fastest on the first stage and finished the Heat in 6th outright.
Crocker now sits on123 points, and has extended his championship lead over team mate Herridge to 53 points.
Scott Pedder's solid performance this weekend moves him to 3rd outright in the GARC, while a disappointing weekend for Simon Evans drops him to 4th.
The series now takes a four week break before heading to South Australia for the Toyota Rally SA on August 5th to 7th.