Glenney triumphs in 30th Rally Tasmania
South Australian horse trainer, Steve Glenney, has mastered horsepower of a different kind with a 23.6 second victory in the 30th anniversary running of Rally Tasmania in the state's north west.
Driving a Subaru Impreza WRX STI, Glenney and co-driver, Alan Stean, moved into the lead early on day three when overnight leader Jim Richards withdrew his Porsche 911 GT2 with major steering problems.
Queensland husband and wife Keith and Mary Anne Callinan took out the Classic competition in their fire-breathing DeTomaso Pantera, nearly three and a half minutes ahead of the Porsche 911 RS of Roger Paterson and Richard Geue.
The Australian Rally Championship component was taken out by Victorian Scott Pedder in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, well clear of reigning champion, Simon Evans, in a Subaru Impreza WRX.
The third day of Rally Tasmania took crews over six stages to the south east of Burnie, before the rally concluded with two spectator stages around the streets of the coastal city, in front of thousands of spectators.
Jim Richards began the day with a lead of over 20 seconds in his Porsche and appeared to have the rally well within his grasp, but a mysterious steering problem would soon change that.
"I was having trouble keeping the car in a straight line even on straight roads," Richards said. "The car was even more nervous over the bumpy sections and we just weren't prepared to take the risk at rally speeds."
That allowed Glenney to move into first place, and it was a position he wasn't to relinquish, slowly increasing his lead over second placed Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth in another Subaru.
"It's great to win Rally Tasmania for the second time in three years," Glenney said.
"It was unfortunate when Jim (Richards) had to retire this morning, but we were still under a lot of pressure from Brendan (Reeves) and couldn't ease up.
"To win after a really tough battle is always a very satisfying feeling," he added.
Reeves was ecstatic with his runner-up finish, just seven months after a massive crash that nearly ended the careers of he and his co-driving sister, Rhianon.
"We've had another great day," Reeves said. "To just finish the event was the main goal, but to take second place and be on the pace again so quickly is really satisfying."
Burnie favourites Jamie and Simon Vandenberg brought their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX home in third place, matching their result from the 2009 rally, much to the delight of local fans.
Simon Gillett was fourth in his Subaru Impreza WRX, ahead of West Australian Ben Searcy in a Mitsubishi. For Searcy, who normally sits on the other side of the car reading the pacenotes, it was a tremendous drive.
Callinan started the day with a lead of over a minute on Paterson's Porsche in the Classics, allowing him to conserve his pace and his rapidly deteriorating rear tyres in order to get to the finish of the event and take a well deserved victory.
"We've had plenty of bad luck with the Pantera, so it's fantastic to finally make it to the end of an event," Callinan said. "I'm not used to putting my driving suit on for the third day of a rally, so it was quite a unique experience today."
Behind Paterson, local driver Mitch Roberts and co-driver Tony Cooper grabbed third place in their Mazda RX7, followed by Mark Dobson (Triumph TR7) and Ross Steuart (Triumph TR8).
Rally Tasmania also included the first round of the Australian Rally Championship, with Scott Pedder returning to the championship in style with a convincing win.
The Victorian wasn't expected to win the event, but his tyres lasted better than some of his rivals and he was able to celebrate a 49.9 second win in his Mitsubishi Lancer.
Three-time champion, Simon Evans, was fast and consistent over all of the rally's 19 stages and picked up a good points haul in his Subaru.
In third place was another Victorian team, Justin Dowel and Matt Lee, giving them their first ever podium finish at a national level. Scott Pedder's brother, Mark, was fourth in another Lancer, while Queenslander Ryan Smart took fifth in his Toyota Corolla.
-source: rally tasmania