International Rally of Queensland

Jan Kopecky launches on SS16 just Km’s from winning

The 21st of June saw the Sunshine Coast hinterland forestry come alive.  Teams from the Asia Pacific Rally championship converged on the small country town of Imbil to battle it out for the honors of being the 2014 IROQ champion. Round 3 saw 13 drivers and navigators from India, China, Japan,Czechoslovakia, Australia and New Zealand do battle in a variety of vehicles from the Skoda’s from team MRF to the Subaru WRX’s of Sanjay Takale and Matt van Tuinen and the Mitsubishi EVOX of Atsushi Masamura as well as  Renault Cleo’s ,Citroen DS3 and a Mazda 2 campaigned by Aussie Brendan Reeves.

IROQ 2014.1 782
Brendan Reeves on SS4

The battle was fierce right from the start with only seconds seperating the teams, but by the end of SS2 Gaurev Gill had opened a 22 second lead. By the end of SS3 nothing had changed much except Atsushi Masamura had moved up a place from 8th to 7th.

Atsushi Masamura SS3
Atsushi Masamura SS3

SS4 New Million was to be the undoing for Gaurev Gill with a massive off ending his 2014 campaign in Australia. Nothing more would really change till SS8 when Masamura lost a place to Chinese driver Jun Xu .

Chinese Driver Jun Xu
Chinese Driver Jun Xu

SS9 saw the end of Bruce Fullerton’s campaign and with only one stage now left to run there were to be no more changes to Leg 1.

Bruce Fullerton SS9 before  mechanical issues ended his race
Bruce Fullerton SS9 before mechanical issues ended his race

Leg 2 Sunday started with another run through New Million with times between the first 9 cars being little more than a second apiece and only 7 seconds in total and 12.44 seconds between Car 1 Jan Kopecky and car 11 Sanjay Takale.

IROQ 2014.1 992

Only 22 seconds between 1st to last place
Only 22 seconds between 1st to last place

SS12 the 2nd stage for Sunday was another running of the Woodland Stage, cars were now starting to suffer from the tough conditions with the original field of 13 now reduced to 10  with Masamura retiring with mechanical issues.

SS13 another re-run of the Kandanga stage albeit in reverse direction. We were to see the field again reduced by another as Matt van Tuinen retired his Imprezza WRX with suspension issues, so now we were down to 9 starters for the second last stage.

SS14 Speddie Contractors was a reverse direction of 2 of Saturdays stages, Gibber and Derrier joined together to form a marathon 35km stage. Times were tight with Kopecky narrowly holding onto his lead.

Scott Pedder SS14
Scott Pedder SS14

 

SS15 Was to be another run through Kandanga South however due to an earlier incident on SS14 with the only vehicle in the SUV Challenge class and the associated time delay SS15 was cancelled.

SS16 another running of the Speedie Contractors stage saw Kopecky absolutely smash out a time 19.6 seconds faster than Scott Pedder to hold onto his lead and take the win.

Final results for what was quite a tough and hard battled rally.

P1. Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler – Skoda Fabia S2000

P2.Scott Pedder/ Dale Moscatt – Renault Cleo R3 (G2)

P3. Brendan Reeves/ Rhianon Gelsomino – Mazda 2

Congratulations to the teams for a well run rally, and a big thankyou to all of the officials who did a great job for another year.

The winners podium for 2014. Image courtesy of  Tim Miller - Dreamsportphotography.com
The winners podium for 2014. Image courtesy of Tim Miller – Dreamsportphotography.com