In the second part of our summary, we look back at Kennards Hire Rally Australia and reflect on the drivers managed in the heat and dust of New South Wales:
Jari-Matti Latvala (Volkswagen Polo R) Result: 9th
The smart money was on Jari-Matti using a great start position to drive away from everyone else on roads cleaned by those ahead of him in the order. That cash went down the tubes just a few kilometres into the opening stage when he slid off line approaching a bridge, swiped the side and broke the Polo’s rear suspension. Almost eight minutes were dropped as he limped through the rest of Friday morning and that was pretty much that.
Hayden Paddon (Hyundai i20) Result: 4th
The Kiwi was confident of delighting his army of fans with a big result. He gambled on hard compound Michelin tyres on the front of his i20 for the opening morning. It didn’t really work, but fourth ahead of what he described as his favourite day of the entire year wasn’t a disaster. He was soon up to second on Saturday and began the final leg 12sec off the lead in third. However, he clipped a bank, knocked a tyre off the rim and his podium was gone.
Eric Camilli (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: Retired
Third fastest in Friday’s opening run through Northbank hinted at good things to come for the Frenchman. Holding seventh on a rally in which he had no previous experience after two days wasn’t a bad situation either. But rolling his Fiesta RS on Sunday morning was a miserable conclusion to a disappointing year. All sorts of rumours were doing the rounds in the service park as to what Eric could be driving next year should Sébastien Ogier go to M-Sport.
Ott Tänak (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: 7th
The Estonian was going well in third until a sticking throttle and a spin sent him into the lower reaches of the top 10. He never really recovered as high temperatures overheated his tyres, particularly on the second pass through the long Nambucca on Saturday afternoon. Ott was one of several drivers who incurred the wrath of the local constabulary en route to Friday evening’s Coffs Harbour seafront tests, and a resultant 40sec penalty did nothing to help his cause.
Lorenzo Bertelli (Ford Fiesta RS) Result: 10th
Not the most straight-forward weekend for the likeable Italian. His Fiesta’s set-up wasn’t to his liking on Friday and a tough day ended with a trip into a fence in the closing super special in Coffs Harbour. A broken rear anti-roll bar on Saturday was more annoying than time consuming, but when the rear differential expired on Sunday leaving the car in two-wheel drive, Bertelli settled for 10th and the promise that he would be back in 2017.