Rally of Melbourne Heat 1 report

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Rally of Melbourne Heat 2 - by Brett Middleton The twin brothers, Rick and Neal Bates have won both Heats at the rally of Melbourne except it was F2 driver Rick who took a Championship win. The pace was hot today, Rick simply needed to ...

Rally of Melbourne Heat 2 - by Brett Middleton

The twin brothers, Rick and Neal Bates have won both Heats at the rally of Melbourne except it was F2 driver Rick who took a Championship win. The pace was hot today, Rick simply needed to finish, to bag the F2 title whilst Dean Herridge and Ross Mackenzie both fought it out for second place, with Ross finally gaining a lead, a broken rear brake line on Deans car in SS4 did not help! The MRT Crew of Brett Middleton and Andrew Benefield has a good run deciding to compete with Lee Peterson, choosing not to risk damage to the car when there was nothing to win. The rally was a good event, the roads were better than last year, and the spectators great.

NOTES Bourne ran the Elf WRC control Fuel Bates ran the Elf "Grunt" fuel, having a "map" finally that would allow this. they also had better tyres. Cody Crocker and Greg Foletta took out Group N John and Damien Long won the PRC "privateers" Cup UNOFFICIAL RESULTS Bates Bourne Crocker Long

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Rally of Melbourne Heat 1 Report by Neil Blackbourn

Here I am in Melbourne for the final round of the Australian Super Series, the Rally Of Melbourne, and Possum Bourne has finally been beaten for first place on a heat of this year's Super Series. Neal Bates and Coral Taylor, driving the newly built Corolla WRC, have succeeded in beating the Kiwi paring of Possum Bourne and Craig Vincent in an enthralling battle fought out in the hills around Healesville, near Melbourne today.

With fine weather and great roads the battle was fierce all day, the two leaders actually being equal after three of the day's stages. Possum then took four seconds back from Neal over the next stage, however the Corolla pair were not to be denied and went into the day's final stage with a nine second lead. Possum Bourne then proceeded to hit a tree lightly with the left front corner of the Impreza, sustaining superficial damage, but losing another nine seconds to finish the day 18 seconds behind his rival. Possum mentioned he had problems getting temperature into his Pirellis fro the most part of the day, while Leigh Hynes/ Jim Carlton had the opposite problem with their Pirellis, going off after about five kilometres.

The battle out front was not the only one to be decided however, with the co driver's title now almost certain to go to Kiwi Craig Vincent. Possum needs to pick up a minimum of points to secure Craig's title.

The Group N battle turned out to be a Subaru dominated affair when Cody Crocker and Greg Foletta beat the next car home, Spencer Lowndes/ Claire Parker and their Lancer Evo 2. Cody described the handling of his car today as 'a bit stiff in the rear end', which made it good viewing for spectators and photographers! Cody finished third outright, about 3 and a half minutes behind team leader Possum Bourne. John and Damien Long made sure of the Privateers Cup by finishing fourth, just 11 seconds behind Crocker/ Foletta.

WA's Dean Herridge and Glenn Macneall stole the F2 win with a great drive to secure eighth outright by three whole seconds from the previously dominant Charades of Rick Bates/ Jenny Brittan and Ross Mackenzie/ Paul van der Mey. Mackenzie had a problem which looked as though it was overheating when all it turned out to be was a loose wire on the alternator, losing 20 seconds and all chance of victory. Brett Middleton/ Andrew Benefield had a remarkably similar problem with the earth from the battery, but it put them out of the heat after completing just three stages. They then spent their time extricating other crews from situations in the stage, including stopping one crew from rolling their car onto the drivers' helmet!

The Bridgestone Corolla Cup honours went to Ashlea James/ Sue McCready from Victoria, while second went to Sydney's Jo Cadman, with Liz Swanton alongside this time. They lost six minutes fixing a puncture on SS3, but pressed on in hope. WA's Roman Watkins and Paul Flintoft from Victoria rolled their Corolla lightly on SS2, but will be back to compete in Heat 2.

Day two's action returns to the hills around Healesville, and finishes up mid afternoon at the Domain Chandon winery near Lilyfield with a short but spectacular Super Special stage to bring the rally, and the Super Series to a close for '98.

----------------------------------------------------------- The Australian Rally Championship Mailing List distributes information and results regarding each round of the Australian Rally Championship. http://www.dusty.com.au -----------------------------------------------------------

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