MOTORSPORT siblings Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Gelsomino are determined to increase their lead in the Australian Rally Championship in South Australia this weekend.
The Wedderburn pair hold a 16-point buffer at the top of the championship table, having won two of the opening three rounds, and a successful test session during the week increased the speed of their Mazda2.
Scouts Rally SA is traditionally the coldest and wettest round of the championship - and it’s also the event Reeves has contested the most, so he’s quietly confident of success.
“Testing went really well, although it was wet and slippery for the entire two-hour session,” Reeves said.
“We changed the gear ratios in the car to give us a bit more top speed, and the extra 10km/h we have found could prove important on what is the fastest round in the championship.”
A few changes to the car’s aerodynamic package should also help the Mazda stick to the road better at high speed.
“We tested for a couple of hours and we’ve made some good steps forward,” Reeves added.
“We wore out a set of front tyres in the two hours, so the car is putting the power to the ground really well, the brakes felt good, and the car was lots of fun to drive.”
Scouts Rally SA begins with qualifying and the Power Stage on Friday morning, with three stages to be held in the afternoon.
Organisers have been forced to cancel some stages because of recent wet weather and with wind, rain and a top of just eight degrees forecast for day one, conditions will be challenging.
“The forest stages will be slippery, but the traditional shire road stages that the rally is famous for should still be quite grippy, as they have a really good gravel base,” Reeves said.
“Our plan for this event is to push hard from the start and see how the car feels."
Reeves said the pair were quietly confident.
"Rhi and I have done this rally more than any other as we perfected our pacenoting on the South Australian roads early in our careers, so we know the area and many of the stages quite well. But we need to ensure we score points over the whole weekend."
There are 20 championship points on offer for the winner on Friday, 40 points for Saturday’s stages and another 20 on Sunday.
Reeves’ major rivals include second-placed Scott Pedder in his Renault Clio, the Team Citroen Australia cars of Tony Sullens and Adrian Coppin, local driver Jack Monkhouse (Nissan Silvia), and Michael Boaden’s Volkswagen Polo.