Price to start Finke 2023 on pole

Toby Price has begun his King of the Desert title defence on a high after winning Saturday’s Method Race Wheels Prologue.

The two-time winner of the event and his navigator Jason Duncan were in fine form during their sole qualifying lap, setting a super quick time of four minutes and 36.710 seconds around the shortened course.

While Price’s prologue performance was undoubtedly the main highlight of the day, the two Robinson brothers lost no fans as they finished second and third respectively.

Finishing second for the day was Beau Robinson, who alongside Shane Hutt, guided his Mason Motorsports truck to a very respectable second place – just two seconds off the pole sitter.

His brother Travis and co-driver James Pinto took out third place a further 10 seconds off after what was an epic lap from themselves, the pair just beating 2021 runner-up Josh Howells and navigator Gordon Tardew after less than half a second separating the two drivers.

In what was a fitting tribute to their late father, both Robinson brothers’ vehicles were decked out in the same livery their father Brian Robinson used in his heyday – marking today’s result a success for the duo.

Rounding out the top five for Method Race Wheels Prologue was Aaron James, with the Victorian going five seconds slower than Howells.

There was plenty of AORC star power finishing behind the top five with Greg Gartner and Jamie Jennings in sixth, Toby and Tony Whateley in seventh and six-time Finke winners Shannon and Ian Rentsch in eighth.

Making up the rest of the top 10 were two class winners – Prolite leaders Brent Martin and Andre De Simone finished ninth and just ahead of Production 4WD leaders and the #2 car in Brent Smoothy and his special guest navigator, David Walsh.

Taking out the SXS Pro victory were reigning class champions James Cook and Mitch Aucote – the duo finishing 19th overall and nine seconds ahead of the next best crew in Peter Carr and Matthew Wyndham, who finished 29th overall.

View the full results here.

Other class victors included Americans Brad Lovell and Beam Lovell, who guided their Ford Performance backed Raptor to a comfortable Production 4WD driver, Sportslite winners Christian and Ashton Montesalvo, Brad and Courtney Geraghty in the Super Buggy 1650s, Performance 2WD winners Richard Mcnay and Aaron Blacksell and SXS Sport winners Eden Evans and Emily Brandle.

The 2023 Tatts Finke Desert Race officially gets underway tomorrow morning with Price and Duncan to lead the field 226 kilometres down to Aputula (Finke) from 7am ACST.