On the thirtieth running of the Auto category at the Tatts Finke Desert Race, Shannon and Ian Rentsch have stormed home to win their fifth ‘King of the Desert’ title in the #33 SR Racing Jimco, a far cry from John Fidler’s Corvette which won back in 1988. Despite missing the opening round of the BFGoodrich CAMS Australian Off Road Championship in St George, Rentsch arrived in Alice Springs for round 2 with good form under his belt after a dominating victory at the Sunraysia 400 in April.
With Friday nights formalities including scrutineering and display at the Finke Start / Finishline locked away, Rentsch focused his attention to Saturday mornings prologue knowing dust would play a major factor in the main race. He unleashed the twin turbo V6 on the 8km track, through the flowing red desert sweepers and new section of man made whoops to post the second quickest time of 4min 53.4sec.
“First in the prologue would have been nice, but at least running second you know what is happening out in front.”
On Sunday’s first leg from Alice Springs to Finke, Rentsch slipped off the leaders place over the first 70k due to the thick dust. However as the track became rougher towards Bundooma, he made up some lost time to fly over the final table top into Finke in a time of 1:51:58.4.
With a 3min 13sec overnight deficit on the clock to the #13 Jimco of Travis Robinson, Shannon and Ian Rentsch launched hard out of the blocks on the 226km race back to Alice Springs.
“Without any breeze to clear the air we knew we would struggle to get past Travis.”
As the rising sun flickered through the trees and lit up Robinsons trail of red dust, Rentsch managed to close the gap to 35 seconds by the Rodinga checkpoint. Very soon he stepped into the outright lead when Robinson retired the #13 OBR Jimco with power steering failure. Out of the dust, the son and father team didn’t look back on their way to the chequered flag, finishing in an overall race time of 3 hours 42 minutes 40.9 seconds.
“Finke gets harder and more competitive every year. When we first won back in 2005 I never dreamt of equaling Mark Burrows and Dave Fellows on five wins. It’s hard to believe really.” said Shannon
“All five of our Tatts Finke Desert Race wins have been on BFGoodrich Tires and they have continued to deliver the goods this year in the desert. We had the confidence to push hard, especially on the run home back to Alice Springs and not worry about risking a sidewall puncture. In a sprint race like Finke you just can’t run the risk of having a flat.”
Rentsch is now two wins from two starts in 2017, with the SR Racing crew aiming to extend their good form to the third and final round of the 2017 BFGoodrich CAM Australian Off Road Championship at Rainbow in August.
SR Racing’s Shannon and Ian Rentsch are proudly supported by: BFGoodrich Tires, Hogs Breath Café, Lucas Oils, Fox Shocks, PWR, Albins, Motec, Hella, Peter Kittle Motor Company, Sims Metal Management, Dirtcomp, FST Suspension, Premium Paint Works and Double Tree by Hilton.