Coffs Harbour Heat 1 - 10th April 1999 Bourne Masters Slippery Conditions at Coffs Harbour Defending champion Possum Bourne (Subaru Impreza WRC) has won one of the most challenging Australian Rally Championship heat events on record....
Coffs Harbour Heat 1 - 10th April 1999
Bourne Masters Slippery Conditions at Coffs Harbour
Defending champion Possum Bourne (Subaru Impreza WRC) has won one of the most challenging Australian Rally Championship heat events on record.
Bourne coped best with torrential rain which turned parts of the Coffs Harbour course into a quagmire to claim a 43 second win over rival Neal Bates (Toyota Corolla WRC).
The pair were speared by just seconds for most of the day and with just two stages to run in their 1999 ARC debut were tied for the lead.
But a gearbox problem on the penultimate stage cost Bates almost half a minute and all but handed Bourne the victory in heat one in his new world rally car.
"I'm stoked with the result but its a hard way to learn how to drive a totally new car when the conditions are so bad. It the hardest win I've ever had to work for," he said.
Bates was disappointed with his result but praised the performance of his new Michelin tyres which allowed him to remain in contact with the event favourite.
"The tyres are superb. The initial speed of the car in the early stages of the event was exceptional," Bates said.
Group N title holder Cody Crocker (Subaru Impreza) unable to hold off a charge from Queenslander Stewart Reid (Mitsubishi Lancer).
Reid and Crocker swapped stage times all day before the Team Subaru young gun left the road on the last stage of the day and was unable to make the finish control.
In Formula 2 defending champion Rick Bates (Daihatsu Charade) won by just 13 seconds from Brett Middleton (Honda Civic VTIR) after main challenger Simon Evans was forced into retirement as a result of technical infringement.
Teams will run over the same course in Heat two today (Sunday) but with overnight rain forecast the route is unlikely to improve.
"Cynan 'Dusty' Rhodes" <email@example.com>