Canberra: Leg two report

Leg 2: Ordynski Holds As Subaru Fall Away 04-May-02 Mitsubishi Ralliart's Ed Ordynski continues to lead the 2002 Rally of Canberra at the end of a torturous Leg 2, which claimed the Subaru's of Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge. Ordynski...

Leg 2: Ordynski Holds As Subaru Fall Away

Mitsubishi Ralliart's Ed Ordynski continues to lead the 2002 Rally of Canberra at the end of a torturous Leg 2, which claimed the Subaru's of Cody Crocker and Dean Herridge.

Ordynski currently holds a substantial 1 minute and 32.1 seconds lead over Possum Bourne who battled through the final stages with a shattered rear drive shaft. Bourne had opened a decent lead during the morning stages through the difficult Kowen forests but dropped significant time over the final stage when the Subaru Impreza dropped to front-wheel drive.

"It was one of the most difficult days rallying I can recall, we took a lot of risks and fortunately they all paid off but when your driving this fast a small mistake can have big consequences," commented Ordynski.

Leg 2 Subaru Rally of Canberra

After overnight discussion amongst the Team Subaru members, Possum Bourne came out ready to fight for the lead during Leg 2. "We had a good think last night about what the car was doing and what I wanted it to do, we changed a few things at the first service and after that it was great to drive," stated Bourne.

The changes made a noticeable difference and Bourne powered through the morning's three stages, claiming the fastest stage time on each to stretch a 10.3 second gap over Ordynski who was within grasp of Cody Crocker.

The Kowen forest stages have proven extremely demanding on crews and cars in the past and despite recent roadwork the stages were to prove as treacherous as ever. The high-speed straights and sweeping corners suited the Group N machinery, drivers allowing the cars to retain the all important corner speeds, a fact which Bourne, Crocker and Ordynski used to good effect.

On the day's fourth stage, the 19.71km Kowen South II, Crocker powered ahead of Bourne and Ordynski to score the fastest stage time. But it was the drivers behind the leading trio who were turning on the pace with Spencer Lowndes fighting tightly with Scott Pedder, Chris Atkinson and Dean Herridge.

"We were setting a comfortable pace, I used the same strategy as Leg 1, to take is cautiously to avoid any problems and to be able to drive around the rough spots if necessary," explained Lowndes.

At the midway point in the day Bourne maintained his 10.3 second gap over Ordynski, Crocker a further 9.8 seconds off the pace while Lowndes led Pedder by a clear 43.4 second margin.

The day's final two stages, the third run over the 11.63km Kowen North and the events only run over the historic Greenhills stage close to the heart of Canberra.

Bourne utilised a newly developed launch control system in his Impreza, a button that essentially allows the driver to fully engage the throttle while the computer management system maintains a constant 5,000rpm rev limit.

On the start line to the penultimate stage Bourne engaged the system and as he went to take off into the stage a large thud from the rear of the vehicle indicated that a major mechanical problem had began to unfold.

"Right on the line -- bang -- and straight away I knew that we'd done a rear drive shaft," Bourne explained. "I was very cautious through the stage because if the broken shaft starts flailing around it can destroy almost everything under the car."

"On the transport to the final stage (Greenhills) we drove over a ditch and I climbed under the car and pulled both rear shaft outs, leaving us with only front-wheel drive for the final 18km stage!" added Bourne.

The drama dropped Bourne over a minute and out of contention, but he was to maintain second outright due to a major incident for Subaru teammate Crocker. Of note Bourne has disengaged the launch system for Leg 3 to avoid a repeat of the drive shaft breakage.

Crocker misheard a pace note midway through the stage, flying over a crest in fifth gear for a hard right corner. The speed was too great, Crocker throwing the car into the corner at the last second, the tyres digging in and sending the Impreza WRX into a terrifying barrel roll.

The resulting roll broke every window and damaged every bodywork panel in the car, Crocker and co-driver Greg Foletta forced to drive out of the stage and back into service coated in dust and debris from the accident.

"I think Cody is being too hard on himself," commented Foletta. "We work hard on our pace notes and sometimes we both get things wrong. The one positive to come out of the roll is the overall strength of the production Impreza, the integrity of the body shell remained intact which is an incredible testament to Subaru's construction of their road cars."

Finishing a bad afternoon for Team Subaru, third driver Dean Herridge retired in Kowen North after breaking a rim and destroying the front control arm on his Impreza. "We came into a relatively slow corner, we just hit a rock in the ruts and the rim disintegrated. We drove a little way down the road but the damage had broken the brake caliper and dropped all the brake fluid as well as the lower control arm."

This followed a frustrating day for Herridge who found his Impreza well down on power, a hole between the blow off valve and the intercooler dropped the boost pressure before the ECU unexpectedly switched the ignition settings. While Herridge's co-driver Glenn Macneall battled through the day after twisting his ankle overnight, one of the events paramedics strapping the swollen ankle at the morning's first service.

The dramas were to continue over the final stage, current Asia-Pacific Champion Karamjit Singh succumbing to the dust and low lying sun, running off the road on the same corner as Crocker and substantially damaging the front end of his Proton.

The damage has forced Singh out of the event, the Malaysian deciding that the risk to continue wasn't worth the effort with the next Asia-Pacific Round in New Caledonia in just 3 weeks. "I'll be back next year with better tyres, better car, the whole thing because that's what you need to be able to match the pace of Possum (Bourne) and Ed (Ordynski)," said Singh.

So after all the dramas Ordynski retains his Leg 1 position at the head of the field, currently over a minute and a half ahead of Bourne who maintained second despite his problems.

"It's far from over though," added Ordynski at the end of the day. "If Possum is able to take a second per kilometer off us tomorrow or we have a problem just like he did today then it'll be all up for grabs again. You can never become complacent about a result."

As earlier in the morning it was the trailing drivers who were turning on the pace, Mitsubishi number two Spencer Lowndes moving into third outright with a clear margin to fourth placed Geof Argyle.

But the sensation of the event is none other than 21-year-old Chris Atkinson from Queensland in an aging but rapid Mitsubishi Lancer Evo V. Atkinson has only contested a handful of top line events, infact this years Rally of Canberra is the only event Atkinson has contested more than once!

The plucky youngster has moved into an incredible fifth outright only 12 seconds off Argyle despite a broken strut top on the final stages. "The handling was all over the place through the stages so I was surprised at our times, but it has been a great day and it's amazing to be in the position that we are!" exclaimed an ecstatic Atkinson.

21 seconds off Atkinson is the hard charging Scott Pedder, eager to make up valuable placings following a tough opening Leg on Friday. "We had a flat on the second last stage but other than that the car has run strong all day, we should have been able to catch Atkinson otherwise but tomorrow is a long day so we'll push hard again," said Pedder.

The strongest performance of the day came from Malaysian Saladin Mazlan in the exciting Hyundai Accent World Rally Car who battled throughout Leg 2 from 28th outright to hold 14th.

"It was a much better day today, I've been a lot more confident in my driving and also the pace notes. Now I am listening to the notes closely and committing more," Saladin explained. "I think tomorrow's stage will suit our car more and I will try to make up a few more placings to get more points for the Championship."

In the small car class local Warwick Rooklyn hit major dramas during Leg 2 in his effort to overhaul Super 1600 driver 'Monster' Tajima. Rooklyn suffered alternator problems whilst an off road excursion during the opening stages removed the front bumper on the diminutive Daihatsu Charade GTi, before disaster struck on the closing stages when Rooklyn broke a rim in a deep rut the resulting damage dropping the vehicles brake fluid and forcing a further off road during the final stage.

"It has just been one of those days in rallying but we learnt some valuable lessons and Warwick has been pushing extremely hard so that he can learn the limits on these roads," commented co-driver Linda Long.

Joining Singh, Crocker and Herridge on the sidelines at the end of Leg 2, Sydney driver Brett Middleton rolled spectacularly at the Kowen North spectator point just 15 meters from his own service crew after the wheels dug in on a rutted corner while New Zealander Andrew Hawkeswood rolled his Mitsubishi Lancer on SS10.

The final day of the Rally of Canberra takes crews back into the forests west of Canberra including the demanding New Lees Creek and East West. With over 100 kilometers of stages during the final day the event is a long way from over and as proven during today's stages at the frenetic pace set by the leading crews anything can happen and often will!


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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Saladin Mazlan , Ed Ordynski , Karamjit Singh , Chris Atkinson , Dean Herridge , Spencer Lowndes , Scott Pedder , Cody Crocker