The starting order for tomorrow’s Tatts Finke Desert Race has been confirmed, following a fiercely contested Prologue battle in Alice Springs.
Toby Price set the fastest time of the morning, with Shannon Rentsch only 3.8 seconds behind Price last year’s bike winner.
With a huge crowd on hand for Round 2 of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship, competitors took to the 8.3km track on Saturday morning and there were plenty of strong performances across all classes.
At the front of the pack, Price and Rentsch will be one of the battles to watch over the next two days, with both Price and Rentsch in a tussle for outright honours.
“I am really speechless. It’s kind of crazy. The boys out here drive these all the time and they are hell bent at the wheel, especially Shannon Rentsch – the guy is extremely fast,” Price said.
“To be in front of all these guys, it’s like a dream come true but it’s only part one of three that we need to do so we are very excited at the moment.
“The crew are doing a really good job here today and looking after everything.
“We are coming and we are going to do the best we can.”
Rentsch was equally optimistic ahead of one of the toughest assignments in Australian motor sport.
“We had a pretty good day. We ended up second and we have a good starting spot for tomorrow,” Rentsch said.
“The aim will be to try and keep up with Toby, but it’s probably easier for him now that he is only racing in the cars.
“We’ll try and hang in there, hopefully we can stay with him and make up a bit of time but there is a long way to go.”
Rounding out the top three was young gun Josh Howells, the 22-year-old only 7.4 seconds behind Price.
Howells was confident of a strong race, eager to take it up to the two superstars of off road.
“We wanted to be around the pointy end, the rack was exactly what we thought it would be so we’re stoked to be where we are,” Howells said.
“It means a lot that I am so close to Toby and Shannon. It’s a big thing, when you have only big names ahead of you, you have to take it for what it is.
“I am definitely happy with this. If I can stay on the pace of them, I’ll be really stoked to be hones. We have the car to chase them and I need to be confident.”
Meanwhile, Phil Lovett put in a gallant effort to be the fastest outside of those battling in the Pro Buggies, Prolites and Extreme 2WD classes.
Competing in his 17th Tatts Finke Desert Race, Lovett powered his SXS Turbo to 21st and ahead of Championship contender Toby Whateley.
The trek to Finke begins first thing on Saturday, as competitors tackle the second round of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship.
Cars/Buggies Outright Top 10
1. Toby Price/Jason Duncan
2. Shannon Rentsch/Ian Rentsch
3. Josh Howells/Eric Hume
4. Beau Robinson/Shane Hutt
5. Brad Gallard/Scott Modistach
6. Mark Burrows/Matthew Burrows
7. Talbot Cox/Craig King
8. Michael Marson/Christopher Colborne
9. Josh Towers/Bruce Young
10. Danny Brown/George Apted