Australian Forest Rally - April 4/5 1998.

Forest Rally provides some hot action. Heat 1 - Saturday: Possum Bourne/ Craig Vincent took the first leg of the second round of the Australian Super Series, the Respect Yourself Forest Rally, held in the forests surrounding Perth on Saturday.

Forest Rally provides some hot action.

Heat 1 - Saturday:

Possum Bourne/ Craig Vincent took the first leg of the second round of the Australian Super Series, the Respect Yourself Forest Rally, held in the forests surrounding Perth on Saturday. Neal Bates/ Coral Taylor were actually quickest on all stages bar one, where they had a puncture, and lost the lead to Possum, who had suffered a puncture himself early on. Possum only had to do 1.5 km on the flat, while the unlucky Bates had to do 6km on his. The hot and dry conditions prior to and on the day saw many competitors rapidly running out of tyres and temperature guages were soaring into the red.

Third outright was the local crew of Allan McCarthy/ Greg Flood, who were a late entry into the event, however the car or driver did not miss a beat. Fourth was the Group N winner, and new Subaru driver Cody Crocker, who along with Greg Foletta, had been offered a plum drive for this event, and duly delivered the right result.These two were chased by the ever hard charging Gerry McGroarty/ Bob McGowan, who didn't look like giving the chase up at any point, and took second in Group N. John and Damien Long were next up in their chase to keep their ARC position, while Tony Flood and Leo Iriks had a good day to beat young Victorians Spencer Lowndes/ Paul Mollison. Rob Herridge/ Karl Francis went out on the third stage with a blown turbo, and it is doubtful that he will start heat 2.

F2 provided a battle royal, however it became inter team for the Daihatsu pair of Ross Mackenzie/ Paul van der Mey and Rick Bates/ Jenny Brittan, with the latter taking a six second victory on the first leg. Brett Middleton/ Andrew Benefield suffered major overheating dramas prior to the last stage of the day, which left his namesake WA crew of Justin Middleton/ Paul Helm into third F2 for the day in his rear drive Corolla. Dean Herridge was fighting for the lead until he went off in SS2 and holed his gearbox, however he kept going, and suffered more dramas including the throttle sensor problem he experienced during last year's Super Series, and other problems also.

Day two promises to be almost as hot, but of more concern are the roads, which are rutting up, and the resultant dust.

1 Bourne/ Vincent - Impreza - 00:00 (gap to previous) 2 N. Bates/ Taylor - Corolla WRC - 00:12 3 McCarthy/ Flood - Legacy - 04:23 4 Crocker/ Foletta - Impreza - 00:07 1st Grp N 5 McGroarty/ McGowan - Lancer E2 - 00:10 2nd Grp N 6 J/ D Long - Lancer E3 - 00:38

13 R Bates/ Brittan - Charade 1st F2 14 Mackenzie/ Brandon - Charade 2nd F2

Heat 2 - Sunday:

The heat was not as bad in Perth today, however the road conditions were bad enough to force some route changes for today's stages. The pace was hot between Bourne/ Vincent and Bates/ Taylor, with equal times on the first shortened stage of the day, However the gap between the two rarely got to more than around eight seconds, and then the last stage...

Bourne went off around 400m before the finish and came out with both front wheels askew. This left the door open for an unaware Bates, who would snap a rear driveshaft and complete the final stage in front drive only. This meant that Possum only had to get the stricken Subaru back to Parc Ferme, 39km away, which fortunately for him he was able to do.

Spencer Lowndes took the heat Group N win and third outright in his Evo 2 Lancer, form the charging father and son team of John and Damien Long in their Evo 3 Lancer. Cody Crocker/ Greg Foletta completed their weekend by taking fifth, while the Legacy of Allan McCarthy made it a Subaru weekend, first outright, first Group N and first WA crew home. Dennis Dunlop/ Alan Hol had a fun weekend which culminated in seventh, while eighthwould be taken by expat WA driver Mark Haybittle, with Scotsman Duncan McIntosh alongside.

F2 again was a struggle, however the equation became easier early in the day when Ross Mackenzie tossed the car into a bank with 26km to go in the stage, and suffered two flat tyres as a result. This left the class to teammates Rick Bates/ Jenny Brittan, while Dean Herridge/ Glenn Macneall took second, with the charging Brett Middleton/ Andrew Benefield Honda taking third, seven seconds down on the Hyundai.

A boost was the competitiveness of the newly responsored Corolla Cup, now the Bridgestone Challenge. This would see a lively battle waged all wekend between the cars of Steve Fosberg/ Lyndall Drake and Roman Watkins/ Paul Flintoft, with a narrow victory going to Fosberg, who professed to having an interesting time on the WA roads!

Some stages for later competitors were cancelled due to an accident involving the VR4 of NSW husband and wife team Evan and Peta Bollard. They both got out of the accident, however Peta was tranported to hospital with some back pain. We all wish this great couple the best.

1 Bourne/ Vincent - Impreza - 00:00 2 N. Bates/ Taylor - Corolla WRC - 00:05 3 Lowndes/ Mollison - Lancer E2 - 04:22 1st Grp. N 4 J/ D. Long - Lancer E3 - 00:06 5 Crocker/ Foletta - Impreza - 00:20 2nd Grp N 6 McCarthy/ G. Flood - Legacy - 00:01 7 Dunlop/ Hol - Lancer E1 - 01:04 8 Haybittle/ McIntosh - Lancer E3 - 00:16 3rd Grp N 9 R. Bates/ Brittan - Charade - 00:37 1st F2 12 D. Herridge/ Macneall - Hyundai 2nd F2 13 B. Middleton/ Benefield - Civic - 00:07 3rd F2

The next round is in about six weeks, the Falken Rally Queensland on May 23/ 24.

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Series Other rally
Drivers Neal Bates , Rick Bates , Dean Herridge , Coral Taylor , Spencer Lowndes , Cody Crocker