Taylor Gill and Ryley Brunner have won the Westlakes Automobile Club’s (WAC) Gadgets Repairs Rally Sprint after holding on for victory in what was a dramatic end to the event.
Behind the wheel of the Subaru WRX, Gill and Brunner found themselves locked in an intense battle against Peter Granger and fellow Subaru drivers Brad and Amelia Clarke.
With 40 competitors taking part in the four-run event, it was Gill and Brunner who had the best start out of the competition, with the duo comfortably winning the first run by 10 seconds over the next fastest driver in Andrew Ong.
Finishing the run 12 seconds behind Gill and Brunner were the Clarkes, while Granger was a further three seconds, setting up a difficult task to catch up to the leading WRX.
Bouncing back in the event’s second run, the Clarkes were the fastest crew and brought the deficit between them and Gill and Brunner down by 10 seconds. It turned out to be a tough run for the leading duo, who were unable to make the top five in the stage - their result opening up the door for Granger who posted the third fastest time.
In the third run, it was a different Granger who was the fastest, with Christopher beating Peter by less than a second. However both Granger entries were almost five seconds faster than Gill and Brunner, setting the stage for what would be an exciting final run.
At the conclusion of the first three stages, Gill and Brunner enjoyed a 10 and half second lead over Peter Granger with the Clarkes not far behind in third place.
Unfortunately the conditions changed dramatically ahead of the final stage with the rain piling down on the competition. Handling the wet surface the best was Peter, who ended up taking the fastest outright time ahead of Ben and Stewart Semple in second and the Clarkes in third.
Remarkably, Gill crossed the line exactly 10 seconds slower than Granger, leaving the smallest margin of half a second to be the difference between the two crews.
However due to the extreme weather conditions having a major impact on the course, event organisers opted to remove the final run from the official timesheet, meaning Gill and Brunner ultimately won outright by 10 seconds, as well as the C4 class. Peter Granger settled for second place, less than two seconds ahead of the Clarkes who rounded out the top three.
Following on from his victory, the young RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship prospect was thrilled to come away with the win, especially since he was hoping to compete in state rallies.
“We went to the event for a bit of fun and to fill in a hole between rallies with Narooma unfortunately being postponed," Gill said.
“Was pretty pleased to win the event, I had one of our service crew guys in the car so there was a bit of mid-stage banter.
“It was a little bit of a strange environment due to all the COVID restrictions in place and then the rain also plaguing the event, meaning it was shortened.
“Full credit to the Westlakes Automobile Club for getting the event up and running amidst this pandemic.
“With on and off rain, road order had a pretty substantial impact on times throughout the day.
“Can’t wait till the next round of the MTA Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship in September pending the Coronavirus situation”
Granger didn't go home empty handed though, with the Buggy Special driver securing the C6 class win. Other class winners saw Riley and Adam Walters win the C2 class, Gary Strange win the C3 class and the 15th place paring of Jack Hunter and Christopher Crane win the C1 class.
Click here to view full results.