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Bourne takes rally win

Battling through: Possum Bourne's Subaru shows the scars of an eventful weekend

Subaru ace dodges mechanical failures and kangaroos to score in Canberra

Subaru logo7 May 2001

FIVE-time Australian rally champion Possum Bourne has survived mechanical dramas to take victory in last weekend's Subaru Rally of Canberra.

Driving a Subaru Impreza WRC2000, Bourne and navigator Mark Stacy won by just over a minute from Toyota Corolla WRC driver Neal Bates and co-driver Coral Taylor.

Third home was Bourne's teammate Cody Crocker, a further 36 seconds back, and winner of the Group N title for showroom production cars in his Impreza.

Bourne's second consecutive victory in Canberra did not come easy, after a suspension strut failure on Saturday slowed his pace.

Even worse came on the final day, when a driveshaft failure and subsequent spin brought him back to within 40 seconds of Bates, who had suffered two driveshaft failures of his own in the previous two days.

However, once the car was repaired, Bourne dominated the last two special stages to ensure victory.

"It was really tough out there being first on the road," Bourne said. "There were rocks everywhere and the kangaroos provided a constant threat. Still we made it through, which was really important to me and the team." Bates was left ruing the driveshaft failures which were blamed on a bad batch of supplies from Toyota Team Europe.

"We really will have to talk to TTE about the shafts as they both broke in the same place - even though they broke on different sides of the car," explained Bates on Sunday night. "But today we absolutely beat the crap out of the car and it didn't miss a beat." Crocker had spent much of the rally in second outright, under no pressure from his usual foe Ed Ordynski, who fought back throughout the rally from an early driveshaft failure to finish seventh outright and fifth in Group N.

Fouth home were visiting Italian pairing Nico Caldarola and Nicola Arena in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI, ahead of Dean Herridge in a Group N Subaru Impreza WRX and Karamjit Singh from Malaysia in a Group N Proton.

Because the Canberra event was not a round of the drivers' championship, Bates and Bourne remain tied on 36 points after sharing the wins and second placings in the first two round of the championship in Western Australia.

It was the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Championship, however, which means Bourne has started his title defence of that series in the best possible way.

RALLY OF CANBERRA RESULTS:1 Possum Bourne (Subaru) 2:55:41.2 2 Cody Crocker (Subaru) +1.09 3 Neal Bates (Toyota) 1:45.4 4 Nico Caldarola (Mitsubishi) 6:20.08 5 Dean Herridge (Subaru) 6:21.08 6 Karamjit Singh (Proton) 6:21.50ARC DRIVERS' POINTS:=1 Bates 36=1 Bourne 363 Crocker 264 Ordynski 265 Herridge 206 T. Challis (Mitsubishi) 97 J. Goadsdue (Mitsubishi) 78 S. Reid (Mitsubishi) 79 S. Handbury (Subaru) 610 S. Shepheard (Mitsubishi) 4Next round: Rally of Queensland, Caloundra , May 16-17

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