The first day of the 2021 Can-Am Loveday 400 is officially complete with Wes and Rob Cowie currently leading the way after two sections.
In what proved to be difficult conditions for the 32 crews entered in the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Cup – Central, it was the Cowies who proved most consistent after finishing both sections inside the top two.
The duo had a good start to the day too, finishing Prologue in fifth place behind national heavy hitters Greg Gartner, Hayden Bentley and Toby Whatley and the fourth placed Brett Rogers.
When it came to the first section, the Cowies quickly jumped to second, finishing behind only Gartner by half a minute, while also edging out Bentley by just six seconds.
The top three were in a league of their own in the first section, as they finished three minutes ahead of the fourth placed Chris Pickert.
After posting the third fastest time on lap one, Whateley became the first major casualty of the event, failing to finish the first section after sustaining significant engine damage.
In the second section, Gartner became the next high profile driver to suffer a premature exit, after his diff failed on the first lap.
Gartner’s exit opened up the way for Cowie to move into the lead, which he held onto comfortably, crossing the finish line 33 seconds ahead of Bentley in second place.
The section win extended his outright lead over Bentley to 39 seconds, while Pickert finished the day in third place, four and half minutes off the second placed Extreme 4WD of Bentley.
In fourth place a further three minutes off the podium was the pro buggy of Tyson and Chris Proud, while current prolite leader Rich Andrews rounded out the top five.
Other notable names not to finish the opening section were two of the three drivers to make their way from last weekend’s Black Diamon Drilling Kalgoorlie Desert Race, including winner Nick Hicks and Luke Erceg.
The action continues tomorrow morning with 120 kilometres over three sections awaiting crews, the first section getting underway at 8:30am ACST.