Two famous names synonymous with rallying, Bourne and McRae, have returned to the top of the podium at the 2015 Repco Race to the Sky.
Former WRC star Alistair McRae has ended the final day of the historic event on top of the standings, using his Possum Bourne Motorsport prepared Vantage Motorsport Subaru Impreza to set the winning time of 8:17.616. Brett Hayward and his unique Suzuki-powered RTTS Special finished second after having dominated most of the event leading into the final, with Ian Ffitch's incredible quad-bike rounding out the overall podium placings.
McRae's win holds particular significance as his winning car was the same Subaru the late Possum Bourne used to win the Race to the Sky event in 2001 - his one and only win at the meeting.
"To win the event in the car that he won it in in 2001 is just perfect," said a jubilant McRae.
The route to victory was not always smooth for McRae, who suffered from technical dramas earlier today forcing his crew to make an engine-change aboard the Vantage entry. However, the road was even more arduous for former Race to the Sky winner and hill-climb rally legend Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima.
'Monster' had been shadowing McRae's pace for most of the weekend with his GoPro Toyota Super 86 hill-climb car; eventually qualifying fourth on Saturday. But, on his first Sunday run, Tajima crashed out in spectacular fashion. While the Japanese driver did not roll his car, the damage was enough to rule the eight time winner out of any chance of a ninth win in Cardrona.
"Go into the air, so I cannot control it... I need a flying license [sic]. Otherwise impossible!" said Tajima after the crash.
It is still unknown what exactly caused the crash for Tajima, but footage of the crash showed that the rear engine-cover of the car came off at high-speed - ripping the rear wing off the car in the process. Tajima escaped injury, and had reportedly left the venue by 1.30pm.
Racing mogul and Race to the Sky organiser Tony Quinn ended the weekend 12th with a 9:05.904 stage-time in his one of a kind Pace Innovations built Ford Focus-bodied V6 powered beast.
Class victories went to Daryll Callinan and co-driver Kristy Mansfield (Historic/Classic), Alistair McRae (Inter Open), Gregory Baynes (Motorcycle HW), Nathan McAlwee (Motorcycle LW), Michael Cotter (Motorcycle MW), Trevor Crowe (National 2 wheel drive) and Michael Tall and co-driver Lorna Tall (National 4 wheel drive).
Photo / Simon Darby
After an eight year hiatus, the future of the Race to the Sky event has been cemented; with a ten year lease to hold the event in Cardrona Valley signed for rally's ahead.