Toby Price has powered his way to Finke, making the 226km trip from Alice Springs in record time and setting himself up for a historic first ever win in the car category.
Price’s time of 1 hour, 39 minutes and 15.6 seconds was the quickest in the Tatts Finke Desert Race’s history, as Price and navigator Mark Dutton made the journey with an average speed of 136.6km/h.
But Price won’t be able to coast back to Alice Springs on Monday, with BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship leader Josh Howells hot on his heels after a superb performance of his own.
Howells and navigator Eric Hume finished the opening day’s action two minutes and 17 seconds behind the two-time Dakar winner to set up a mouth-watering race finish.
Beau Robinson shouldn’t be counted out either, with the West Australian just 18 seconds behind Howells and eager to secure his first ever Finke win alongside navigator Shane Hutt.
Aaron James sits in fourth, almost seven minutes behind Price, while Peter Costello and Ben Brooks ended day one in fifth – nine minutes behind the leader.
Price also leads the Extreme 2WD field, while Howells was the quickest of the Pro buggies.
Hayden Bentley and Hannah Bentley were the quickest of the Extreme 4WD field, while Andrew Mowles led the Prolite class.
The remaining classes are now on their way to Finke, with the full results available here.
MORE TO COME.