The Repco Rally Team competed in the Narooma Forest Rally on Saturday finishing 2nd Outright, a great result for the team after a longer than normal hiatus.
The team now looks to the Batemans Bay Rally in a few weeks time as part of the Rally NSW Championship.
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Each event we will produce a number of videos as part of our coverage, below are links to our videos for the National Capital Rally.
REPCO RALLY TEAM TAKES ON THE NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY 2016
NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY BEGINS – 2016
NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY 2016 – HEAT 1
RRT – NATIONAL CAPITAL RALLY 2016 – HEAT 2
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With the success of 2015 the team heads in to 2016 with a new car and a new focus.
In 2016 the team will focus on the NSW Rally Championship which also includes two rounds of the ARC with the final round a WRC Round as well.
With that and the first round the National Capital Rally upon us here is a short intro to the team and the event, stay tuned to the our website and YouTube channel for more videos during the event as well as the usual round report.
The Repco Rally Team have completed yet another successful Rally Australia and have come away with not only a 2nd place podium position but have also increased their championship lead to 68 points2.
The event began well for Mick and Bernie with a solid performance in the Power Stage on the Thursday morning, however the true test would come on the Friday when teams set out to tackle the fast flowing shire roads near Macksville, 80km south of Coffs Harbour.
The first 3 stages of the morning loop were completely new stages, many likened them to the fast flowing roads that are the Nambucca stage which is run on Saturday, after the morning loop Mick and Bernie were performing well and in 3rd place overall against a strong 4WD field.
The team needed to perform well in the afternoon to keep the momentum going into a shortened Saturday program, and that they did, they improving their times considerably to the morning’s loop and ended the day in 3rd place overall with almost a minute gap to 4th position.
As mentioned the Saturday program was shortened due to the full WRC program and only one pass of the TV stage Valla would be completed.
Heat 2 saw Justin Dowel DNF from the event, this gave the team a little more breathing room in terms of the championship standings, the day was long however, with two passes of the long Nambucca stage and back to back anything could happen and the overall lead changed, Mick and Bernie put in yet another solid drive and with no car dramas to report they moved up into 2nd position going into the final day and only a minute behind leaders Marcus and Scott Walkem in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX.
Going into the final day the team had a total of 5 stages to complete, with just over a minute gap to 1st anything could happen, a strong performance could see a Rally Australia win, all were it began in 2009. The team performed at its best, reduced the gap to first place and came away with a Heat win, however the championship points race was just as important so held their ground to equal last years Rally Australia result coming in 2nd place overall to the Walkem brothers who took the overall win.
We asked Mick how his week was.
Q: So another Rally Australia, another solid strong performance, and another 2nd place result, how was the weekend overall?
MP: We had a very clear “championship” focused event, we wanted to win however increasing our championship lead in the Australian 4WD Rally Series was our main priority. Apart from losing some time on Saturday morning, it all went smoothly.
Q: Dust was becoming a major issue with 4 minute gaps being applied how was the dust for you especially on stages like Newry Long? And Nambucca?
MP: We didn’t have any dust issues throughout the event to speak of.
Q: With a 2nd overall the car must have performed well, any issues to speak of?
MP: The Evo 10 was amazing, the team at RaceTorque prepared a very strong, fast and reliable car for us. We could have done 2 more days rallying without any issues.
Q: Coming in to the round we asked if you made any changes, how do you think the changes went? Improvement?
MP: The rear diff change before the event worked well, we swapped the original diff back on Saturday night as the Sunday stages were very different. We won leg 3 after the diff change was made, so we were very happy with that.
Q: With your nearest rivals both receiving DNF’s from the event your lead going in to the final round means you are on the cusp of winning the Australian 4WD Rally Series, how are you feeling about this? We know you are known as Mr Cool but there must be some excitement building at what could possibly lie ahead?
MP: It will come down to the last event to decide the winner, I’m super keen to get to SA and attack the stages. We rolled in 2013 and came home after testing with car issues last year. So this year we going for gold. I’ll be excited once the job is done.
Q: Will you be doing any private testing prior to RallySA in October?
MP: We will be focusing on SA only at this stage, the car will receive some more RaceTorque TLC. Bernie and I will be reviewing last years incar and analyse Rally Australia footage.
Now with just 1 round remaining the teams focus is on South Australia, an event where they have not had much luck in the past, however a series win has not been on the cards, only 19 points are whats needed to secure the win, time will tell.
Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Twitter and here for all the latest news as the Repco Rally Team goes for the Win.
In what can only be described a fairytale start for the team, Mick and Bernie have successfully won their home rally, the National Capital Rally and thus capitalising on their win in Western Australia, QUIT Forest Rally last month.
A frosty Canberra morning greeted the team early on Saturday, however Mick and Bernie turned up the Heat quite quickly, claiming 4 of the 6 stages to hold a 39sec lead of Justin Dowel in his Hyundai i20 at the end of Heat 1.
RRT: What were the stages like during Heat 1, you took 4 from 6 stages, confidence must have been super high, do you like the canberra roads in particular the Kowen Forest?
Mick: Day 1 suited the car more, stages a Bit more open, I tend not to favour some roads over others as I generally like all roads I drive on.
RRT: Did you struggle with the car during Heat 2? you only took 2 stage wins, were you holding on to your lead and driving cautiously?
Mick: Heat 2 started slowly, I got up to speed after the morning stages. On SS11 in the afternoon we hit a large rock which slowed us down and we lost about 10 secs, my confidence was dented but I was still determined to gain back my rhythm, I managed to make a small change for the last stage and brought the car home without any incidence and held on to my lead.
RRT: 2 from 2, I know your confidence was high after winning WA, now to Win your home event with friends, family and colleagues there to cheer you on how does it feel? Teams were falling by the wayside, you won stages and showed real pace, what do you think is the contributing factor to your new found success?
Mick: It’s an amazing feeling to win a Rally Round first and foremost, but to win in front of people I live with or see and speak to daily, it is hard to put into words, over the moon perhaps.
Having a strong car and team behind me lets me concentrate on just driving, I rarely get much sleep during an event, I even managed about 7 hours sleep a night during the event. I’m a lot more relaxed and can just focus on the roads and notes.
RRT: The new car is clearly performing at its best, a small issue during the Power Stage but that’s it. Going in to the 3rd round is there anything you can improve on? we definitely saw the relaxed mick during the event, that is a definite catalyst to your success at the moment.
Mick: I’m not sure I can be any more relaxed at this stage, as far as improving, I need to commit more to the notes and visualize the road more, I tend to wait and see what’s over a crest or a brow then accelerate, I need to paint the picture with notes and drive it.
RRT: Now that you have two wins under your belt is it time to start pushing that little bit more to try and capitalise on your lead and make a run for the championship?
Mick: I’m not going to change a winning formula at this stage, I will stick to what I know, and what has always worked,
Mick and Bernie won 5 of the 12 stages on offer and came 2nd on 3 of the other 7 by less than 2 seconds, come the rally end the team held on to a 1min 13sec lead to win the National Capital Rally.
Round 3 of the Championship moves to the Sunshine Coast for the International Rally of Queensland, stay tuned to the RRT Website for a mid year review and image gallery from the National Capital Rally.
Make sure you tune in to Channel Ten this Sunday April 26th at 2pm for Part 2 of the Quit Forest Rally coverage of the Australian Rally Championship where Mick and Bernie took home the round win in the 2015 Australian 4WD Rally Series.
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