Darren Windus and Joe Brkic have continued their solid start to the 2021 Till Hino Motorsport Australia Victorian Rally Championship (VRC) with a dominant victory in the third round of the season.
Taking place in and around Victoria Blue and the Black Range State Forest, the Sheen Panel Services Group Marysville Rally saw 48 crews take on seven stages, six of which were won by Windus and Brkic.
Behind the wheel of the same Subaru WRX Windus crashed during last month’s Netier National Capital Rally, the duo showed plenty of pace through some challenging stages to come away with a one minute victory over Brendan Reeves and Kate Catford.
After finishing the first stage in second place and six seconds behind winners Franco Liucci and Barry Sheridan, Windus powered through the second stage to produce a 17 second lead over the next best crew in Warren Lee and David Lethlean.
From there, the Subaru WRX driver took control of the rally to win the remaining five stages, the second to last of which was drawn with the Datsun P510 of Reeves and Catford, who endured a tough fight to finish second themselves.
Rounding out the top three was Tasmanian youngster Bodie Reading and co-driver Mark Young, while Liucci finished the rally just two seconds behind in P4 after being unable to capitalise on his first stage win.
Windus and Brkic’s victory sees them move to the top of the VRC standings after they won the championship’s second round last month.
“It was great to knock another one over,” Windus said.
“The snow made us a bit apprehensive as we have had a couple of big damage bills recently, so we were just a bit cautious on the first stage. However once we saw how we went, we figured that we needed to pick it up.
“The second stage seemed to be the most difficult. We pushed where we thought we could push, but we had a few hairy moments. Still, we came out alright and had a really good lead after that.
“Because of that stage, we were able to slow it down a little for the rest of the rally and minimise the risk for the next five stages.
“One week after Canberra, we used Arron’s car for the second round of the VRC which we won and then we used our car for this round, which our team worked really hard to fix and get it ready, so it was nice to win for them.
“We may have missed out on round one, but now we’re on top of the table as the other crews in the title hunt have also had a bad round. It makes it even now but means everyone is going to be on their game for the rest of the season, something we need to be too.”
Also taking place on the weekend was the Victorian Club Rally Series (VCRS) and the Victorian Sprint Rally Series (VSRS).
Taking out the five stage VCRS competition was Cary and Russell Seabrook after the duo steered their Datsun Stanza to a 39 second victory over Daryl King and Chris Barrett, while Matt de Vaus and Bill Hamilton won the two-stage VSRS by one and half minutes in their Peugeot 504 V6 coupe.
The next round of the Till Hino Motorsport Australia Victorian Rally Championship will form part of the RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship’s Gippsland Rally on 7-8 August.