Red Bull racer, Toby Price (#487 Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck), has reached the Finke checkpoint the fastest on Race Day 1, as his looks to create history and become the first-ever competitor to be crowned the King of the Desert in the car category and bike category.
The six-time winner of the bike category set an impressive 1 hour 44 minutes and 12 seconds as he made his way through central Australia on four wheels, alongside Navigator Jason Duncan. Price has restricted himself to a cars-only tilt of the 2019 race, as he nurses his wrist back from injury sustained during his win of the iconic Dakar Rally earlier this year.
Despite an epic rollover in Prologue yesterday, the pairing of Jack Rhodes and David Pullino (#91 Jimco Aussie Special) from Adelaide, SA bounced back to reach the Finke checkpoint in the second fastest time on Day 1. Starting the morning from position 14, the 2018 podium finishes (3rd) completed the day with a gap of 7 minutes 44.4 seconds to the leaders upon arrival at Finke.
The distance to third is less than a minute with duo Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt (#413 Geiser Brothers Trophy Truck) rounding out the top three times at the final checkpoint today. The pair from Perth, WA finished Day 1 with a gap of 8 minutes and 9.9 seconds to the leaders and will be hoping to hunt down Price tomorrow to take out the elusive King of the Desert title, after five previous podium finishes at Australia’s toughest off-road race.
NSW’s Josh Howells and Eric Hume (#3 Jimco Aussie Special) were a further 2 minutes and 27 seconds behind in fourth place, dropping a spot in the field from a Prologued position of 3rd.
Moving through the field and finishing Day 1 in fifth position, Ryan Taylor along with Adam McGuire (#24 Tatum AK47) climbed 10 positions with Brent Martin and Andre de Simone (#120 Jimco) mirroring that effort to improve from 16th to 6th at the halfway point of the two-day race.
After just missing the podium in 2018, Talbot Cox and Craig King (#16 Racer Engineering) are currently in seventh, around 14 minutes behind the leader.
Off-road legend Mark Burrows along with navigator Matthew Burrows (#21 MBR Jimco Buggy) finished in eighth position with Dale Martin and Adrian Rowe (#133 Tatum) coming in ninth.
A flat tyre halted defending champions and six-time Kings of the Desert, Shannon and Ian Rentsch (#1 Jimco Buggy) during the final leg of the day between the Mt Squires and Finke checkpoints. The father- son duo will start the return journey tomorrow from tenth, a gap of 17 minute 24.7 seconds to Price in first position.
CLASS RESULTS – DAY 1 – 2019 TATTS FINKE DESERT RACE
PRO BUGGY : #91 JACK RHODES / DAVID PULLINO – 01:51:56.4
PROLITE BUGGY : #120 BRENT MARTIN / ANDRE DE SIMONE – 01:57:29.7
SUPER 1650 : 210 DECLAN CUMMINS / KARIN-ANN BARKER – 02:28:39.7
PERFORMANCE 2WD : #577 CHRIS PICKERT / BRYAN BROWN – 02:54:50.8
EXTREME 2WD : #487 TOBY PRICE / JASON DUNCAN : 01:44:12.0
PRODUCTION 4WD : #701 GEOFF PICKERING / DYLAN WATSON – 03:27:29.5
EXTREME 4WD : #881 TADAMITSU NIIHORI / MURRAY HYNES – 03:23:36.4
SXS TURBO : #697 PHIL LOVETT / LUKE STANLEY – 02:10:47.2
SXS SPORT : #6649 HARRY WECKERT / CAITLIN STEPHENS – 02:44:18.7
SPORTSLITE : #1065 STEVEN GRAHAM / DARYL GRAHAM – 02:07:52.9