Monkhouse masters Wild West Wet and broken driveshafts in challenging day. Challenging weather conditions may have made today's opening leg of the 2005 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship in Western Australia more of a reliability trial...
Monkhouse masters Wild West Wet and broken driveshafts in challenging day.
Challenging weather conditions may have made today's opening leg of the 2005 Globalstar Australian Rally Championship in Western Australia more of a reliability trial than a regular sprint heat of the ARC, but for South Australian Jack Monkhouse it was all about survival.
After setting highly competitive times in the two opening sprints around the Busselton super special stages held Friday Night, The team had every right to be confident heading into the forestry stages that would make up the remainder of today's opening leg.
What the team didn't count on, however, was their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VII Snapping a Left Hand Rear drive shaft during Brockman - the third and longest (23.1KM) stage of the event - as Monkhouse selected first gear whilst negotiating a tight hairpin bend.
The following two stages turned into a battle to stay on the road in increasingly wet conditions without the advantage of Four Wheel Drive. The dramas cost Monkhouse and co driver Darren Masters over seven minutes, and dropped them from eighth, to 16th and last ARC runner in the space of just three stages.
"It just broke as we were going through a hairpin on stage 3," explained Monkhouse. "For a while it drove on the viscus coupling, which made it seem like we had a slipping clutch - Then it just reverted to Front Wheel drive which made things really difficult.
"We had to push start the car uphill on the second stage (After the drive shaft broke) and then jump in when the diffs locked. We had to do it again at the stage finish which was again on a steep (up) hill, which made things pretty interesting!" he said.
The Cochrane Rallysport team was able to source a replacement drive shaft from fellow Lancer driver Kevin Shaw to get back into the competition, but a lack of time to replace the drive shaft's sensors meant that the car stayed in rear wheel drive for the next group of stages.
"We had a couple of moments on Stage 5, which was the wettest of them all" he said. "After that it was a bit better but we were glad to get back to service to get the sensor back on.
"Once we had it fixed I went out and had a real go over the last couple of stages, and it worked a treat. The car went really well so that was a real positive from the day."
And 'have a go' he did -- 6th fastest on the repeat of Brockman an indicator of the pace Monkhouse has the potential to extract from the team's Mitsubishi.
Three more top ten stage times out of the remaining four stages continued the good progress forward -- the pair ending the day 16th overall -- a result not indicative of the potential shown in some of today's stages.
"Overall we are just happy to get to the finish and get some speed out of the car," said Monkhouse. "I think that the pace we have shown today, and the information we have gained, will be a big help for tomorrow's stages in Leg 2."
Mitsubishi had a productive day overall, with factory driver Scott Pedder finishing the heat in second place in the Allan Heaphy run Factory Ralliart entry. This year sees the Cochrane Rallysport team of Monkhouse and Masters as nominated manufacturers championship points scorers alongside the Pedder entry in the GARC.
Leg two gets underway tonight with two more runs around the Busselton super special stage, before seven stages in the Forrest surrounding the township tomorrow, all culminating in a competitive distance of just over 108 Kilometres -- 8 KM more than today's opening heat.
<pre> Results -- Leg 1 Quit Forest Rally, Western Australia 1. Cody Crocker Subaru 2. Scott Pedder Mitsubishi Ralliart Lancer Evolution VIII 3. Juha Kangas Subaru 4. Dean Herridge Subaru 5. Brad Goldsbrough Subaru 16. Jack Monkhouse Cochrane Rallysport Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VII