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.