Red Bull racer, Toby Price (#487), has reached the Finke (Aputula) checkpoint the fastest on Race Day 1, as he 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 rewrote the history books setting a new record time of 1 hour 39 minutes and 15 seconds as he made his way through central Australia on four wheels, alongside Navigator Mark Dutton. A massive 5 minutes faster than his 2019 Day 1 result.
Mirroring his 2019 Day 1 result, Price is hoping the desert gods are on his side this year after leading in 2018 and 2019 on Day 1 to then not finish the race.
Despite a slower start, 2019 runner-up Josh Howells and Eric Hume (#15) were the second fastest time on Day 1. The crew setting a time of 1 hours 41 minutes and 32 seconds with a gap of 2 minutes and 16 seconds to the leaders upon arrival at Finke (Aputula). The time Howells and Hume set is an impressive 13 minutes faster than their 2019 Day 1 result.
The distance to third is only a further 18 seconds with duo Beau Robinson and Shane Hutt (#413) mirroring their 2019 Day 1 result to round out the top three times at the Finke (Aputula) checkpoint today.
The firey pace set on Day 1 of the event will make for a fascinating Day 2, with the difference between the top three only 2 minutes 35 seconds, a contrast to 2019 where the top three were split by almost 8 minutes and 10 seconds.
NSW’s Aaron James (#93) was further 4 minutes and 56 seconds behind in fourth place, climbing a spot in the field from a Prologue position of fifth.
Moving through the field, Peter Costello and Ben Brooks (#23) finished Day 1 in fifth position while Talbot Cox and Craig King (#16) finished in sixth position after jumping four places after starting the day from a Prologue position of 10th.
2012 King of the Desert Brad Gallard and his team (#454) jumped up to seventh after starting in ninth, currently 10 minutes and 12 seconds off the lead.
Andrew Mowles and his crew (#135) finished in eighth with Hayden Bentley and his team (#818) crossing the line in ninth position.
Rounding out the top 10, Michael Marson and Chris Colborne crossed the line in tenth, 12 minutes 40 seconds off the lead.
Despite finishing Method Race Wheels Prologue Day in fourth position, John Towers and Bruce Young (#27) received a DNF and failed to complete the course. Shane Elphinstone and Adam Trewhella (#44) and Brett Rogers and Brett Richardson (#95) who finished 13th and 14th respectively in Prologue also failed to finish and received a DNF.
Full results for the 156-strong car field can be viewed here.
After camping overnight, the car and buggy field will leave Finke tomorrow (Monday) morning at 7.15am CST for the run back to the Alice Springs finish with the first cars expected to arrive at approximately 9.05am CST.
The 2021 Kings of the Desert for the car category will be crowned when the field completes the return journey from Finke to Alice Springs tomorrow.
Dirtcomp are the official photographers of the 2021 Tatts Finke Desert Race.
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