Rod Millen leads as international contingent — and his son — are hot on his heals
The opening day of competition at the 2016 Leadfoot Festival was topped by event director and hill-climb legend Rod Millen.
The five-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb champion lead the time sheets at the end of the day with a time of 0:50.31, around two seconds adrift of his record time at the venue.
But the Toyota Celica pilot will be under pressure come tomorrow's shootout sessions, with multiple other drivers also breaking the 55-second barrier.
“In most ways I'm quite happy not to win, but it's really hard to let it go,” Millen told Driven.
Leading the charge from the rest of the field is former World Rally driver and reigning Race to the Sky winner Alistair McRae, peddling the former Possum Bourne Subaru Impreza WRX that the late rally legend made famous as several other hill climbs.
Also knocking on the door of Rod's pace is eight-time Pikes Peak Hill Climb winner Paul Dallenbach, and Rod's son Rhys Millen. Driving his Global Rally Cross Hyundai Veloster, Rhys ended the day in third after claiming a best time of 0:53.1 — 1.1-seconds behind McRae's 0:52.0.
Top Gear USA host Tanner Foust had a successful day behind the wheel of his V8-powered Volkswagen Passat, wowing the crowds. Photo / Matthew Hansen
Despite inclement conditions throughout the opening half of the day, the three sets of practice sessions for the grid of more than 100 competitors were largely uneventful. Save for a selection of spins for numerous drivers, including Milwaukee drifter Jodie Verhulst, Mitsubishi Evo pilot Leigh Hopper, and four-time Bathurst 1000 champ Greg Murphy.
Biggest moment of the day was the differential failure aboard 'Mad Mike' Whiddett's 'MADBUL' Mazda RX-7, which caused delays as volunteers rallied to cover the fluids that had spewed all over the circuit.
Action gets back underway at 8am on Sunday morning, with the shootout for overall honours scheduled to take place at 5.45pm.