The Australian Tarmac Rally Championship returned to its longest standing location this weekend, the iconic Lake Mountain. A regular calendar feature for many years; the single-stage alpine event’s flowing, technical road is a drawcard for many competitors, while others crave the easy-paced après-race scene.
This year’s event left many competitors smiling, most likely due to the event achieving a zero-crash status. This wasn’t due in any part to lack of competition either. Tim Hendy and Joanne Sibley set the early pace in their R34 GTR, with the Evo 9 of Danny Traverso and Tim Kulhankek biting at their heels. The final podium position for day 1 was a hotly contested “battle of the Evos” between Clint Arrentz/Pete Burrey and right-seat debutant Dan Lemish.
The drama began to unfold in ernest on Sunday with Dan Lemish being one of two Evo owners to retreat from the mountain early with damaged pistons, while event leader Hendy dropped considerable time with a puncture.
The final stages of the rally saw the leader board re-stabilise to mimic the overnight standings with Tim Hendy taking victory from Traverso. Clint Arrentz arrived in 3rd for the event, exactly what he and co-driver Pete Burrey needed to do to clinch the title for Australian tarmac Rally Champions in what is Clint’s first year in the sport.
An honourable mention must be given to Keith and Alex Morling who have played a battle of David and Goliath throughout the year. Their beautifully prepared Mk2 Escort repeatedly muscled out some much-fancied competition to take 4th in the overall championship, collecting 1st Classic on the way. Next year’s ATRC begins in March when it returns to Mt. Baw Baw, home of the steepest road in Australia.