event reports

Kaplan sets the pace on day 4

Adam Kaplan/Aleisha Penney - Mazda RX7

Day 4 belonged to Kaplan with three stage wins. Photo: Craig O’Brien

Reigning 2WD Australian Rally Champions Adam Kaplan and Aleisha Penney, were the team to beat on day four of the Lasseters Classic Outback Trial winning three of the four stages, but Andrew and David Travis maintained an overall lead of almost 7 minutes just past the half way point of the rally.

Teams started the day at the northern end of the Simpson Desert before heading north to Ross River Resort. Throughout the rally Kaplan has showed some impressive speed winning multiple stages but managing temperatures in the searing heat in the rotary powered Mazda has been their achilles heel. Despite this they went on to win SS18, SS19 and SS20.

In the battle for the lead, the Travis duo started the day with a lead of just under 7 minutes with the Belgian entered Porsche now chasing them hard. Winning the opening 19km test of Allambi, a hole in the floor early in the day, somewhat hampered their speed as Joost Van Cauwenberge and Jacques Castelein had to contend with a dust filled cabin. While Travis didn’t win a stage, with those behind them having their own battle for position on the time clock, they head into day five still with a comfortable buffer just shy of 7 minutes.

Behind them the feelgood story of the day undoubtedly belonged to the Silver Arrows Racing team from Belgium. Requiring a new gearbox for their Mercedes 500 SLC on Tuesday morning, a call out on social media saw a replacement found in Sydney and air freighted to Alice Springs via Adelaide before the team worked through the night to fit it and start day 4 on time.

In Modern Competition, despite losing some time, Chris and Blake McCormack (Magna) still hold an advantage of 10 minutes over the Peter Neal/Craig Whyburn Subaru.