Jack Rhodes and David Pullino have won the iconic Tatts Finke Desert Race, round two of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship (AORC).
It was a memorable victory for Rhodes, who rolled his car during the Prologue for the second year running.
Starting the race in 14th, it was Sunday’s race to Finke which set up the ultimate race win, powering through plenty of dust to arrive in Finke second quickest.
After many years on the podium, 2019 saw Rhodes finally claim the ‘King of the Desert’ crown.
“To finally get a cross the line in first is just a dream come true, something I wasn’t sure I would ever achieve,” Rhodes said.
“I hoped and tried and put 100% in but something would always go wrong. To finally achieve it. it’s something pretty special.
“Coming in from 14th to second yesterday was incredible. We didn’t think we did that well yesterday but when we saw our time, we were surprised.
“We knew we had done well but we didn’t think we were that good so it was a really good result”
Toby Price looked to be set for victory, but early mechanical dramas on Monday saw him parked up by the side of the road and unable to continue. Beau Robinson was also on track for a podium finish, but a broken steering rack ended his day.
Josh Howells and Eric Hume finished the race in second, their best result at this gruelling event.
“I am over the moon, we didn’t stop working on the cars all last night, didn’t leave anything unturned,” Howells said.
“I was happy with sixth last year in my debut was awesome, but to come home in second this year. It’s unbelievable.
“Can’t thank our team enough, the work they put in the shed is just unbelievable. My dad is the brains of the whole team.”
Third of the AORC registered crews was Mark Burrows and Matthew Burrows – both proud of their performance.
“Great result for our team. Especially with a new navigator being my young son, we came here hoping to get into the top 10, and we’re way past that which was great,” Burrows said.
“We were really wanted to stay ahead of Shannons because of the outright championship points. It makes Rainbow very interesting.”
Last year’s winner and 2018 AORC Champions Shannon and Ian Rentsch finished fifth overall – a puncture costing him valuable time on Sunday, but a strong return leg to Alice Springs means he claims vital Championship points heading into the final AORC round at Rainbow in August.
“It’s good to finish. It’s going to be hard to day starting from 10th with the dust. We are just happy to get back in one piece,” Rentsch said.
“We were running pretty good pace yesterday but we ran a little bit wide on a corner, and we must of put a stick in the rear tyre. Had to get out and change that, but we had a hard time doing that because the jack kept sinking in the sand.”
1. Jack Rhodes/ David Pullino
2. Josh Howells/ Eric Hume
3. Brett Martin/ Andrew De Simone
4. Mark Burrows/ Matthew Burrows
5. Shannon Rentsch/Ian Rentsch