Kirkland-Best duo dominates rally

SAM Kirkland and Matt Best scored a dominant win in last weekend's rally run by the Motor Sports Club of Tasmania in the Retreat forest plantations.

Driving their elderly but very fast Evo 3 Mitsubishi Lancer, the duo won both heats and along the way nine of the 12 stages to finish 3minutes 35seconds in front of defending champions Marcus Walkem and Damien Grimwood in their Evo 9 Lancer.

Admittedly the Walkem- Grimwood car was not 100 per cent after a heavy landing off a crest at the end of stage five.

Only one second separated the two cars at the end of stage one with Walkem-Grimwood in front, but on the next stage Kirkland- Best were a massive 42 seconds faster.

The Evo 9 team responded by winning stages four and five by 24 seconds but from then on it was game over for the 2013 champions.

Even though Kirkland-Best had the event in the bag they put in a great run on the final 25.58-kilometre stage to score a bonus $300.

Third overall in both heats and first two-wheel-drive car home was the Plymouth Fire Arrow club car of Kade Barrett and David Weldon after a great battle with the Subaru Impreza WRX STi of Andrew Wylie and Simon Vandenberg.

At the end of 110 competitive kilometres they were separated by just 51 seconds, which was a measure of another impressive performance by second generation driver Barrett and the experienced Weldon.

The Victorian team of Glen McIntyre and Thomas Stirling- Carmec were forced out when the gearbox in the Toyota Celica failed on stage six and the Mark Sutcliffe-Jason Milner Nissan R30 Skyline retired with a blown engine after previously suffering a harmonic balance problem.

Milner was then co-opted into the Subaru Impreza WRX STi of Kurt Wylie whose co-driver had become too ill to continue and they went on to score fifth place overall only 48 seconds behind Kurt's father.

Ricciardo on pace

DESPITE being forced to start from 13th position on the grid, after qualifying third last weekend, Daniel Ricciardo again demonstrated that his inclusion in the championship Red Bull team was justified by finishing a superb fourth just three-tenths of a second behind a podium position.

Ricciardo had been given a 10-place grid penalty as a result of an unsafe release from his pit bat in the Malaysian Grand Prix caused when a wheel was not secured.

While no one could do anything about the dominance of the two Mercedes Benz cars of winner Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, Ricciardo worked his way through the field with precision and twice passed teammate Sebastien Vettel.

Admittedly in one case Vettel was asked to allow Ricciardo to pass because he was faster, which no doubt irked the four-time world champion, but the second time was a genuine fight for position and the young West Australian did so with aplomb.

Team boss Christian Horner was full of praise for Ricciardo after the race noting that he truly deserved his position in the team.

The next hurdle for Ricciardo and the team is the appeal regarding their disqualification from second place in the Australian Grand Prix, which is due to be heard on Monday by the FIA.

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