Its been just over week since I came back from Round 1 of the ARC, what can I say, it was probably the most stressful start to a season for both me and the event itself.
The event started well with testing, Team Citroen Australia and the Repco Rally Team both put down enough miles to be happy and ready to go.
Below are a few shots from testing, my biggest problem was it was the same location as Citroen tested at in December last year.
If anyone has followed my work from last year they would notice I have organised photoshoots for teams at unique locations to each Rally, unfortunately though with Canberra being Canberra I wasnt able to get the access I needed to do a team shot for Team Citroen Australia, instead we managed to get a pretty cool shot with the team trucks and rally cars all together, the difficulty with this was the fact Tony Sullens team truck is well rather large, well put it this way, it can probably fit 8 cars in it with a kitchen and small office as well so we really needed to find somewhere with enough room to get everything I needed, luckily enough the road leading to Adrian Coppins workshop worked perfectly, the next hurdle, getting up high enough to get a good enough perspective to showcase the entire team, we managed to find a fairly large ladder and up I went, probably 4-5 meters high, the resulting images I think turned out quite well. I also managed to grab the final portraits of the team, Tony Sullens and Julia.
Below are a few general shots from the event, recce, and my hotel room where I am staying, most shot with my new Olympus OMD-EM1 System. Recce is often the best time during a rally, we get to see the countryside, the day albeit usually quite long isnt stressful, this time however the stress levels were high, on the 2nd stage of recce we heard a clunky noise as we came over a crest on the main highway, pulled over and low and behold the rear drivers side spring had fallen out of its socket, as mentioned in a preview behind vm we were lucky to have a few competitors stop and give us a hand, 2 hrs lost and we had a new car.
Prior to the Ceremonial start the ARC Power stage was held near Stromlo Forest Park, this is usually the best opportunity to get as many photos as possible as the teams complete a minimum of two laps of the short 3km stage, this was also the first chance to see the new Team Citroen Australia in competition mode.
Brendan Reeves managed to take the power stage win, this would become quite a familiar position for Brendan and Rhianon over the weekend.
The famous Ari Vatanen was also in Canberra, the 1981 World Rally Champion visited the National Capital Canberra as guest of honour at the annual Australian Rally Hall of Fame induction ceremony and opening round of the Australian Rally Championship. He also took the wheel of an Audi Quattro S1 Group B car – for the first time – on the shakedown stage after the Power Stage, he then took 10 lucky guests for rides.
The Ceremonial start began in the same location as last year in the heart of Canberra at the Civic Centre, it creates quite a buzz and of all the Ceremonial starts in the series this is probably the best.
It was a surreal experience seeing Eli Evans (R) and Glen Weston (L) in non red and white race suits.
Heat 1 started just as Heat 1 did in 2013, wet, wet and generally wet and miserable, by lunch time it had stopped but soon started again as teams made their second pass through the morning stages, I am not sure if the weather conditions played a part in the events of the morning stages but by the first pass of the Pedders stage just before the main service the 13 strong field had dropped to 5 or 6, National Capital Rally was taking its toll on crews, by the end of Heat 1 we had 6 of the 13 crews still standing, crews would work overnight to try and get back in to the rally for Heat 2.
The sun was shining and Heat 2 began with 4 teams unable to repair their cars, so the field was down to 9, Brendan Reeves was leading over Steve Mackenzie with Adrian Coppin just 30sec behind, the scene was set for a thrilling finish to the first round.
If you have followed my work you would know I love logs in rally photos, Canberra has been good to me and every year I have had log shots, this year was no different.
and thats a wrap, the first round of the ARC is done, Brendan Reeves and Rhainon Gelsomino won the round with a clean sweep of the Power Stage, Heat 1 and Heat 2, second place went to Team Citroen Australia’s Adrian Coppin and Tim Batten with a clean and consistent run, with Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt coming in third after having a disastrous Heat 1 with suspension troubles.
In less then 3 weeks we head to Busselton for the second round the QUIT Forest rally, the best round on the calendar.