WATCH: Final round of NSW Rally Championship
The final round of the MTA NSW Rally Championship was a battle between a Mitsubishi Lancer EVO and a Subaru WRX. A fight between two iconic badges, and in this vide we check out all the action from Heat 2.
Heat 2 of the Kosciuszko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally would be reduced to just two stages in the forest and two shire roads tests after Special Stage 8 was cancelled due to an accident.
Richard Shimmon and Jim Gleeson in the Evo Lancer knew they needed a faultless run in heat 2 if they had any chance of winning the MTA NSW Championship. They were off to a great start, winning the second pass over the Bucky Owl stage and then backing that up with another win in the next stage, Jones Boundary. They’d built a slender lead of just 3 seconds.
Right behind them was Tristan Kent and Lisi Phillips in a very similar spec Mitsubishi EVO. They’d finished Heat 1 in seventh, but were showing better form in Heat 2. After the two forest stages, they were 2nd in the heat and maintaining their seventh overall.
In the Subaru Camp, Andrew Penny and Rhys Llewelyn were slowly pushing their STi harder and were starting to get close to matching times with the leaders. They were just three seconds slower than the fastest time in BOTH forest stages to be sitting comfortably in third place in the heat before the two shire road stages.
The Subaru WRX STi of Glen Raymond and Kate Catford was back running in order after dropping down the field significantly in Heat 1 with an oil cooler issue. Whilst they were faster over the two forest stages than their morning pass, they were now down in fifth place in Heat 2, but were maintaining the rally lead by 30 seconds.
Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell in the DS3
Whilst the season has been dominated by EVO Lancers, we had yet another Subaru in the top five places. Michael South and Justin Goodreid holding onto 5th in the heat and maintaining third outright in the rally.
Glen Brinkman and Harvey Smith had a poor start in their Lancer EVO, brake issues hampering their progress in Heat 1. They were now starting to show the pace we’re used to from the 2018 champions, and after the two forest stages there was just nine seconds between the lead in the heat, and sixth, which is where Brinkman found himself.
Tony Sullens and Kaylie Newell were the first of the two wheel drive cars. They’d finished Heat 1 in 5th position in the Citroen DS3, and in the second pass over the 8.3km Jones Boundary stage, they were 15 seconds quicker than their first pass. But the 4WD cars around them were also faster and they dropped back one position into 6th outright.
Bethany Cullen and Mel McMinn were the next of the 4WD cars. They moved up into 9th outright and 9th in the Heat.
In another two-wheel drive car was Jamie Neale and Tom Flegl in the Honda Civic. They were the second quickest front wheel drive car behind Sullens and making steady progress.
Many of the Classic Cars were also mixing it with the State Championship competition. They’re just as eligible for points as their modern equivalents. Nathan Quinn and Ray Winwood-Smith proving an old car isn’t necessarily a slow car. The former Australian Rally Champion was up into 8th outright. If you want to see more of the Classic Cars, be sure to watch our two-part video covering all the classic action below.
With just two stages to go and with rain AND snow threatening, the shire roads would see some interesting times set, including some quick times from Sullens and Newell in the Citroen DS3. They were 6th quickes in the first shire stage, Poddy Hut. They were 3rd quickest in the second of the shire road stages, matching the time of one of the 4wd Lancers and showing what an exception team these two are. They finished the rally in seventh and this would mean they finished every rally and every heat in the MTA Championship. An outstanding performance.
Kent and Pillips in the Lancer EVO were still showing speed, they were again 2nd quickest on both of the Shire Roads to finish the Heat at the top of the Leader-board, equal first for a win in the heat. Not having that groove in Heat 1, meant he finished the rally 6th overall.
Shimmon struggled on the Shire roads, he dropped down the leader-board to finish the heat in 8th, which also dropped his overall outright position to 5th. But there was a good reason, he'd lost 4th gear and the gearbox was struggling to select gears. Shimmon and Gleeson scored the most points in the MTA championship for 2019, but the under the rules, each team has to drop their two worst heat scores and this would see the pair finish the season in 2nd outright, and outstanding result.
South and Goodreid in the WRX STi may have only been doing this event as a one off, but they’d enjoyed the event, winning the last stage and finishing 4th outright.
Brinkman and Smith continued their good run. They were sixth in the heat before the two forest stages and fourth outright. With some consistent fast driving, they moved up three places to finish the heat in third. This also moved them up one place in the outright placings into third, a great result after a less than great start.
Penny and Llewellyn in their WRX STI also won a shire stage, taking the top spot in the penultimate stage of the rally, the 21.7 km Poddy Hut test. They were also quick on the final Old Bomabala Road stage, finishing third. This was all good news for the local team, moving them up two places to finish the heat equal first and the rally in 2nd outright.
But the rally win would go to Glen Raymond and Kate Catford in the Subaru WRX Sti. This win would give them enough points after dropping their worst two heats to win the championship. But it wasn’t without controversy. In the days after the event, the were excluded from heat one after it was calculated that they had run out of late time, but eventually went on to win the event and the championship after a protest was upheld by the stewards of the event.
We do it all again in 2020 for the MTA NSW Rally Championship, where a calendar of seven events is planned with the National Capital Rally, Caves Classic, Rally of the Bay and Monaro Stages all returning. We’ll also have three new events for 2020, the highlight being the Bega Valley Rally back on the calendar over the June long weekend.