Australian driver Mark Pedder and co-driver Claire Dowling have secured second place (registered drivers) at the International Rally of Queensland, regaining third place in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
The rally, held in the Queensland hinterland was the only Australian event on the calendar this year and one that the crew has contested many times before. “It would be foolish to assume that we would have a home advantage just because we know the roads, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be familiar with the area and the weather” stated Dowling before the event.
The strong local rally scene in Australia provided several additional entries to the APRC field, including Mark’s brother Scott. The rivalry between the two brothers was intense, but both realised there was a bigger goal in sight. “While I would have loved to have chased Scott down, the aim for this weekend was to bank some solid points in the championship and I didn’t want to lose sight of that” said Mark.
Driving around a niggling gearbox issue, Pedder found the roads faster than in previous years due to a lack of rain. Encountering dust, rocks and the occasional cow, kept the crew on their toes all weekend. “The organisers and local councils have done a great job with road selection and maintenance this year. It is by far the smoothest I’ve seen the Rally Queensland roads in years” said Dowling at the end of day one.
Day two proved more challenging with the gearbox issues worsening, forcing Pedder to drop time as he tried to prevent the gearbox failing entirely. Despite this, by the end of the rally,the crew had held on to second place which moved them back in to third place in the championship with a clear buffer to fourth.
“I’m really happy with how the rally went, very grateful to the service crew for keeping the car running and it’s great to be back in points contention” said Pedder.
The next event after a seven week midyear break is the Rally of Malaysia, held in Johor Bharu which will be a new event and a new challenge for both Pedder and Dowling.