Fierce competition on Day 1 of Shannons Adelaide Rally
The long wait for the return of the Shannons Adelaide Rally is over as the event kicked off with eight competitive stages in the Adelaide Hills on Wednesday.
Postponed from 2020, this edition of the rescheduled Adelaide Rally saw cars roar into life for the first time since 2019 near the South Australian capital.
Competitors took in a total of 27.98 competitive kilometres on today’s loop which included a run down and up the Wickhams Hill stage as well as the Willunga Hillclimb, which has become a favourite of the event.
The longest stage was the 5.5km run on SS5 (Myponga) shortly after the first regroup.
While the opening day only began just before lunchtime there was no shortage of action on a busy afternoon with a fierce battle in Modern Competition.
Thursday will see competitors run a further nine stages, taking in Snake Gully, a part of Anstey Hill, the iconic Chain of Ponds and the famous Corkscrew before heading to a former home of the Australian Grand Prix, Lobethal. Kanmantoo and Doctors Creek, staples of Adelaide rallying, complete a massive day.
It will also see the Prima Tour entrants start their portion of the event featuring an array of brands enjoying the stunning Adelaide roads.
Images: Sports Car Safari
Ben Calder and Steve Glenney ended the first day of running on top in Modern Competition in a tightly fought contest.
Calder and Glenney won two of the first four competitive stages by a narrow margin to build a lead of 4.1s by the end of SS5 (Myponga) over Oscar Matthews and Tristan Catford in their Mitsubishi Evo 6.
The margins were tight for the rest of the day’s stages, with Peter Rullo/Dennis Sims winning SS6 (Willunga Hill) by a mere 0.4s as Calder/Glenney extended their overall lead. Having also taken out SS7, Calder/Glenney extended their advantage to 10.3s over the next best car as a new contender climbed up the order.
The Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Julian Newton and Nicholas Wotton emerged second as Matthews and Catford struck dramas, while Dean Lillie/John Lilleyman climbed to third, 19s off the lead in an Evo 10.
Jeff Morton and Daymon Nicoli in a 2019 Porsche GT2 RS were fourth with Daniel Traverso and Matt Dillon completing the top five in an Evo 9.
The Matthew Selley and Hamish Mckendrick combination dominated the day in Classic Competition driving a 1985 Hartge.
Selley and Mckendrick led from the outset but lost some of their 8-second advantage in SS7 to Roger Paterson and Richard Geue’s 1974 Porsche 911RS
Paterson caught up to end SS7 only 3.7s behind, but it was still the Selley/Mckendrick car that took the day.
Tim Pryzibilla and Rick Powell maintained third through the day and wound up 25-seconds off Selley as SS7 drew to a close.
Best of the Modern Challenge runners was Justin Perkins and Andrien Brabbins fielding a 2015 Subaru, who led at the end of SS7 by 6.6-seconds.
The #641 2020 model Lotus Exige of Robert and Alex Bryden was out the gates fast in Modern Challenge winning the first two competitive stages before being overturned on Willunga Hill (SS4).
This is where the #645 of Perkins and Brabbins came to the fore in their 2015 Subaru, capturing the Modern Challenge overall lead.
Perkins/Brabbins stayed at the top, despite a spirited effort by the Bryden duo to topple the Subaru on SS6 where the latter closed the gap by finishing 0.5s shy on the downhill run on Willunga Hill.
Gordon Christie and Nigel Mcgaffin were solid all day driving their Volvo S60 to third at the end of SS7, only 11.7s off the class lead.
The Audi S3 of Nathan Robbins/Alex Johnson was fourth, where they sat most of the day, but only 2.7s off the third place car in the end.
Ben Auld and Lucy Barker rounded out the top five, having narrowly won SS5 driving a Porsche 911 997.2 GT3 CS.
In Classic Challenge, the Dean Cook/Simon Richards pairing and Lachlan Cox/Sam Martin, both in 1970s Fords swapped the lead by the narrowest of margins for much of the day.
Cook and Richards led at the end of SS5 (Myponga) but that was snapped back up by the #635 of Cox/Martin on the down hil Willunga Hill run (SS6).
At the end of SS7 it was Cox and Martin that were on top by 5.2s over Cook and Richards.
The next best car was Will Coulter and Andrew Colliver in their 1986 Toyota Sprinter, followed by Ross and Emma Smith, 25-seconds off the class leader in their 1984 Nissan 300ZX.
Mike Lowe and Kerry Chevis rounded out the top five, a further 11-seconds behind fielding a turbo Volvo.