The curtain has been raised on the 2019 BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship with 69 teams hitting the track today for the prologue and section 1 of the Cobb & Co Hotel St George 399.
This mornings 11 km prologue gave the drivers a taste of things to come and when the clocks stopped it was the reigned AORC champions, Shannon and Ian Rentsch who topped the time sheets in the #Aus 1 SR Racing Jimco. Young gun, Josh Howells put his #3 Howells Motorsport Jimco into second, keeping the hard charging Geiser Bros Trophy Trucks of #413 Beau Robinson and #410 Greg Gartner in 3rd and 4th respectively. Only 0.23sec split #80 Glen Towers, 5th and #21 Mark Burrows in 6th. #119 Jason Richards, #116 Michael Spokes, #2 Toby Whateley and #153 Alan Dixon rounded out the top ten on the grid.
Shannon Rentsch picked up where he left off in 2018 in section one, leaving the field in his dust on the two laps of the freshly reworked track. With #3 Josh Howells out with a reported roll on lap 1, #413 Beau Robinson charged hard in a bid to hunt down Rentsch’s twin turbo V6 buggy.
However Robinson would also be forced to the sideline on lap 2 with mechanical issues, opening the door for #410 Greg Gartner to step into second outright. Meanwhile Toby Whateley’s love affair with St George continued in section 1, jumping from 9th on the grid up to 3rd outright in his #3 SXS Turbo CanAm Maverick.
Jason Richards locked down 4th on the road and the Prolite class lead in his #119 Chenowth, ahead of the Probuggies of #11 Michael Napier, #80 Glen Towers and #21 Mark Burrows. #1065 Steven Graham punched his Sportslite into 8th, ahead of former AORC Champ #103 Matt Martin. #59 Luke Ayers rounded out the top ten.
Racing kicks off tomorrow morning in St George at 7:30am for two x 2 lap sections.
Photos thanks to Craig Houston Photography
OUTRIGHT – SECTION 1
1st – #1 Shannon Rentsch #33 Racing 1:25:35
2nd – #410 Greg Gartner Motorsports 1:28:05
3rd – #2 Toby Whateley 1:30:33
4th – #119 Jason Richards 1:30:35
5th – #11 Michael Napier 1:31:01
CLASS – SECTION 1
ProClass – #1 Shannon Rentsch 1:25:35
Prolite – #119 Jason Richards 1:30:35
Sportslite – #1065 Steven Graham 1:31:20
Super 1650 – #232 Werner Zettl 1:38:49
Extreme 2wd – #410 Greg Gartner 1:28:05
Performance 2wd – #579 Andrew Barber 2:04:30
SXS Turbo – #2 Toby Whateley 1:30:33
SXS Sport – #6656 John Wise 1:46:53
Production 4wd – #778 Jodie Allen 1:50:14
Extreme 4wd – #816 Christian Trusz 1:34:45