Coffs Harbour - Heat 2 Cancelled

HEAT TWO OF COFFS HARBOUR RALLY CANCELLED Rally organisers have been forced to cancel day two of the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship in Coffs Harbour. The decision was made at 7am this morning (Sunday) following heavy ...

HEAT TWO OF COFFS HARBOUR RALLY CANCELLED

Rally organisers have been forced to cancel day two of the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship in Coffs Harbour. The decision was made at 7am this morning (Sunday) following heavy rain overnight. It is the first time a round of the ARC Super Series has been cut short due to weather.

Clerk of Course Bob Halpin said more than 120mm of rain had fallen since 9am Saturday and the decision had been made with the safety of competitors and the condition of the forest roads in mind.

"We gave it our best shot but unfortunately this is the way it has to be," Mr Halpin said.

One third of the 72 car field withdrew during or after yesterday's 80 kilometres of competitive rallying with many more sliding off slippery roads before rejoining the rally.

"This is not really what special stage rallying is about," Mr Halpin said.

Toyota Team Australia driver Neal Bates (Corolla WRC) predicted he could have evened the score with heat one winner and defending champion Possum Bourne (Subaru Impreza WRC) had heat two proceeded.

"We're obviously disappointed it has been called off. In the wet conditions we believe we had the edge on Possum. I couldn't be happier with the car and apart from some bad luck yesterday we were right up there.

"If yesterday is any indication, now we are both in world rally cars this year is going to be very close," Bates said

Bourne is still coming to grips with his new world rally car and was more philosophical.

"That last stage yesterday was just atrocious. I was pleased to get to the end of it," he said.

Bourne also referred to the 26km Arrawarra stage on which he was relegated to second place by eight seconds by Bates. "I was surprised he beat us by that much," he said.

Bourne said he was looking forward to giving his Subaru its head in more favourable conditions. "The car seems to work better if you attack harder," he said.

The next round of the ARC Super Series is the Falken Tyres Rally of Queensland in June.

"Cynan 'Dusty' Rhodes" <cynan@harvestroad.com.au>

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Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates