Team News

Gearbox woes end Dalton’s Gippsland Rally hopes

The Gippsland Rally was over almost as soon as it started for Richie Dalton and his Shamrock Motorsport team.

Contesting round five of the Australian Rally Championship in Victoria, Dalton and co-driver, Dale Moscatt, started the rally in fine form.

Driving their Toyota Yaris AP4, the pair finished the first stage in third place, only six-tenths of a second behind eventual rally winner, Lewis Bates.

This was despite a gearbox problem slowing their progress from the start.

On the following 16km stage though, they were caught and they slid off the road on the outside of a very long fifth-gear corner.

“The gear indicator wasn’t showing the right gear and it’s probably what caused our off on stage two,” Dalton said.

“It was telling me I was in fifth, but I think we were actually in sixth gear, and when the corner tightened a bit it upset the attitude of the car and we got into the loose stuff.

“The car beached itself over a bank and that was where our rally ended.”

Richie Dalton was showing good pace before gearbox problems forced his retirement.

After the car was recovered, the Neal Bates Motorsport team set about replacing the gearbox, but eventually, the team went outside their time allowance and was forced to retire.

“It’s disappointing as this was the rally I was really looking forward to, given that I competed here last year,” Dalton added.

“But that’s the way it goes sometimes, and we’ll regroup and get the car ready for the next round in South Australia in October.”

The result drops Dalton from second to fourth in the Australian Rally Championship. However, with competitors dropping their worst score of the season, it still leaves the Irishman with every opportunity to regain ground on his rivals.

There are still two rounds to go this year, in South Australia and New South Wales.

The rally was won by Lewis Bates in another Yaris AP4, followed by young guns Troy Dowel (Hyundai i20) and Max McRae (Subaru).