Ian Menzies has set up an intriguing battle in the 2023 Kickass Motorsport Australia Queensland Rally Championship title race after picking up his first win of 2023 a dominant display on the roads of Gympie.
Sharing the spotlight with the Bosch Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) during the Accent Benchtops Rally Queensland, Menzies and co-driver Robert McGowan guided their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 to a convincing 54 second victory over round one winners Glenn Brinkman and Steven Richardson.
Ryan Williams and Brad Jones deservedly rounded out the top three places after dominating the entire first half of the rally before sustaining damage on their rapid Subaru Impreza WRX STI after rolling on SS4.
The duo would eventually recover from their issues in the middle stages of the rally and go on to win the remaining three.
Unfortunately, their gallant efforts would only be good enough for third, but the duo wouldn’t walk away empty-handed as they finished the weekend atop the Junior class.
While running in second to Williams for the first three stages, Menzies made an emphatic statement by taking a 14-second victory in the fourth stage over Stewart Reid and Bella Hoggarty – moving to a 31-second lead as a result.
From there, three second-place finishes behind Williams and Jones ensured their lead would only extend over second place runners Brinkman and Richardson, ultimately leading to the round win.
“It was great to get the win, we are extremely happy and while it was our intention to grab the win you never know what is going to happen, so it was nice finish on top,” Menzies said.
“The strategy was to not make any mistakes, the roads were quite challenging and very rough – which is normal for Queensland, so we just wanted to keep it as tidy as possible and see what transpired, which seemed to work.
“Obviously Ryan (Williams) rolled which cost him a bunch of time, that handed us the heat win despite not being the fastest car, but we were happy to be consistently faster than the others and turn that into something special.
“I have done every Rally Queensland since 2000, so I was familiar with a couple of stages but there were also a few that I hadn't done in the past, which provided a great challenge.
“It is an extremely well organised event; the Gympie township really embraced it and there were no issues on our end throughout, it was a pleasure to be a part of.
“I believe Glenn (Brinkman) and I will now be equal on points heading into the final round, so it will be on.”
In the end, Reid and Haggarty would go on to take fourth place after amassing consistent top five finishes throughout the event, while also taking home bragging rights in the 2WD class, while John Bustard and Melinda Bergmann would make it an Evo-dominated top five.
It was an impressive weekend for Acworth Recruitment Qld Clubman Rally Series winners Aaron Dunkerton and Aleshia Penny, finishing 48 seconds ahead of Nikki Duclos and Craig Hodge.
Earlier on in the weekend, Shane and Sylvie garner were victorious in the four-stage Virtual Security Guard Qld Novice Rally Series, outlasting the opening round winner David Micjan by more than 30 seconds.
View the full results via the Subaru Results Hub.
The final round of the Kickass Motorsport Australia Rally Championship will be the Imbil Rally on 9 September.