Australia has enjoyed a solid outing at the FIA International Gymkhana Grand Prix in Taiwan with the three representatives putting in promising performances throughout the weekend.
With 36 drivers from 11 different countries in attendance at the international event, competitors took part in solo, double and team categories in a qualifying and knockout style of competition.
Representing the green and gold were Stephen Turner, Heath Barry and Kelly Thomas and it was Turner and Barry who ended the weekend with the best result, scoring a gallant second place in the doubles category.
The 12 competing teams had to complete the motorkhana challenges with two cars on the road and the duo qualified in P5 to move to the final round where they would only get one run at the course.
Leading the two-car challenge was Barry as Turner followed closely behind him and the pair put in a near perfect run to secure the runner-up finish behind Taiwan and ahead of the Philippines.
The trio were unable to experience the same highs in the other disciplines though as Turner was the best performer in the Solo runs, getting all the way to the final 16.
Barry made it past the first round of qualifying but was eliminated in his first knockout battle after heading the wrong direction, while Thomas improved throughout the qualifying sessions, but was unable to progress to the knockout stage.
In the team category, each driver had one run on the course with each score adding to a final team score. Despite all three drivers doing well, it wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the knockout stages.
“This was a very interesting style of event. To be fast you needed to adapt to the cars quickly,” Turner said.
"While similar to motorkhana, the rules were different and striking course markers was a common thing. This was owing to the fact the courses were very tight and the Subaru Levorg that we used didn't have a handbrake.
"Now we have a better understanding of this event, I think we can work hard and develop Team Australia into a highly competitive team.
“While I was disappointed with my solo effort, our 2nd Outright in the double competition was just fantastic.
Like Turner, the runner-up in the doubles was the highlight of what was a fun weekend for Barry.
“The Taipei international gymkhana prize 2019 was an awesome event and I learnt lots of new things,” Barry said.
“I made heaps of new friends in this amazing experience. We are all pretty stoked that we can bring home second in the doubles event for team Australia.”
As for Thomas, despite improving throughout her rounds, it was still an enjoyable event as she looks to one day get another chance to prove her skills.
“I felt like I didn’t get the chance to completely prove myself, ” Thomas said.
“ I know I can do better, it would be amazing if we could go home, practise these kinds of events and come back next year to give it a fair crack knowing what to expect.”
“I think we all have a high potential to do well but at the moment, a massive thank you to all organisers, officials and everyone involved who got team Australia over here.”