Local rally ace Steve Glenney has stolen the show and taken a stunning win at Toyota Rally SA, the penultimate round of the NEC Australian Rally Championship
Glenney, 29, from Wistow, and co-driver Bernie Webb won today's second heat by just 1.9 seconds ahead of privateer Dean Herridge and won the rally on combined points from both heats.
Toyota Rally SA is the first time this year that the reigning NEC ARC Privateer's Champion has raced against the series' front running drivers and he was on the pace immediately this morning, winning the first two stages.
"The guys at the front of the ARC are on it right from the first stage," Glenney said.
"We've had to keep pushing ourselves and make every corner count, because we know that one small mistake here can be very costly.
"It's been a great weekend for us, and I'm wrapt that we were able to mix it with the leading drivers!""
Subaru privateer Dean Herridge tried to chase the young South Aussie driver down but fell short at the finish line by just 1.9 seconds.
Unlike Glenney, Herridge is in contention for the NEC Australian Rally Championship and was happy to come away from South Australia with a valuable points haul.
"This has been a great event for us as far as the championship goes, and most importantly for us we've narrowed the gap in the series points chase." said Herridge, who also extended his lead in the Privateer's Cup.
"The last round in Melbourne is going to be a cracker!"
NEC ARC series leader Simon Evans fell down the order on the second stage of the day when the bonnet on his Corolla Sportivo flew up and smashed the windscreen.
"We drove about half a kilometre with my neck craned right over trying to see out the side window before we stopped." Evans explained.
"I tried to re-pin the bonnet back down but it was all bent out of shape, so I just thought 'rip it off'."
The Toyota Racing Development crew replaced the bonnet and windscreen at the next service break, and Evans charged back through the field to finish the heat in sixth, picking up four stage wins along the way.
After a convincing heat win yesterday, Scott Pedder's luck took a turn for the worst, blowing the turbo in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX at the start line of the first stage.
"We knew immediately that the turbo had gone and all we could do was drive through the 20-kilometre stage as quickly as possible while (co-driver) Glen Weston kept an eye in the mirror for cars approaching behind us," Pedder explained.
Team Mitsubishi Ralliart replaced the turbo and Pedder rejoined the rally determined to put on a show for the team's supporters.
Despite posting consistent top five stage times for the remainder of the stages Pedder was not able to affect the outcome of today's heat.
Neal Bates was happy to pick up a podium position for Toyota and consolidate points for the championship.
"The event didn't really go to plan, but I still enjoyed racing on these roads . it's a huge buzz to throw the car into a corner at 170 kilometres an hour!" Bates said.
Will Orders finished fourth today, an impressive result considering his team was limited to the use of 12 tyres under BP Ultimate Challenge rules.
Stewart Reid climbed to fifth ahead of Evans and Roman Watkins while South Aussie Jack Monkhouse fell to 8th after an incident on the 11-kilomEtre Charleston stage knocked his Lancer Evo 7 out of alignment.
Darren Windus was also ran into trouble late in the day and an off-road excursion dropped the West Australian privateer to 9th ahead of John Murray Jnr.
Pirtek Rally Team Ford's Michael Guest made some gains from yesterday's heat and moved up to finish just outside the top ten.
South Aussie Sam Brand was placed inside the top five early in the heat until his Subaru Impreza suffered a repeat of yesterday's gearbox problems.
Steve Glenney's win also hands him maximum points in the South Australian Rally Championship round, run concurrently with the NEC ARC round this weekend.
Simon Evans continues to lead the NEC Australian Rally Championship with 170 points, from Neal Bates (154) and Dean Herridge (148).
The results from Toyota rally SA ensure that the NEC Australian Rally Championship will go down to the wire at the final round, the NGK Rally of Melbourne, held on September 22- 24th.
By Briony Ingerson
PROVISIONAL RESULTS- TOYOTA RALLY SA- HEAT 2- SUN AUGUST 20
1. S.Glenney/B.Webb (Subaru)
2. D.Herridge/B.Hayes (Subaru) +1.9
3. N.Bates/C.Taylor (Toyota) + 10.8
4. W.Orders/T.Feaver (Subaru) +33.4
5. 5. S.Reid/A.McLoughlin (Toyota) +1.24.2
ROUND RESULTS (PROVISIONAL)- TOYOTA RALLY SA
1. Steve Glenney 30
=2. Neal Bates 28
=2. Dean Herridge 28
4. Simon Evans 25
=5. Scott Pedder 20
=5. Will Orders 20
NEC ARC DRIVER'S CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (AFTER ROUND 5 OF 6)
1. Simon Evans 170
2. Neal Bates 154
3. Dean Herridge 148
4. Scott Pedder 110
5. Darren Windus 66