Aaron Haby has dominated the first day of the Can-Am Loveday 400 to charge out to a five-minute lead at the halfway point of the race.
It was a faultless performance from the South Australian, who had Toby Cooper and daughter Chelsea Haby sharing the navigating duties throughout the five laps, as he ended up the day comfortably in front of Shannon Rentsch and Ian Rentsch.
With 75 crews starting the fourth round of the 2022 BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship season, it was a day of high attrition as only 44 cars managed to complete all five laps.
Some of the high-profile drivers not to make it to the end included Carl Haby, Beau Robinson, Luke Erceg and Shane Elphinstone.
While plenty struggled, Haby was in a league of his own as he won every section with ease – a feat that even surprised himself.
“It’s pretty awesome, I just can’t believe actually. Car went faultless today and no issues. Really loving the rough stuff,” Haby said.
“I don’t know what the difference was – I just thought I am going to go for it in the final section just in case, so just held down hard and it was good.
“Really can’t fault the car at the moment as it’s doing great in the rough stuff. I am not feeling too bad myself. Bit stiff in the shoulders, but we will be all goof for tomorrow.
“I just need to stay in front (for tomorrow) and make it out like they are chasing me down. Keep it going hard. I have no other choice really.”
Behind the leader, Rentsch enjoyed a solid outing of his own, having beaten Ryan Taylor and Kye Floyd in an intense battle for the day’s runner-up placing.
Taylor got the better start of the two, going outright second fastest in the opening section, before Rentsch edged past him in the second section to go three seconds faster.
The nine-time AORC champion then extended his lead over Taylor in the day’s third and final section to finish 30 seconds ahead of the Queenslander.
Behind the trio of Pro Buggies was Extreme 2WD leader Brad Gallard who was one minute and half minutes off Taylor, while Mel and Liam Brandle rounded out the top five and with the Prolite lead– marking a successful day for local drivers.
Although Brandle snuck into fifth, very little separates he and the two crews behind him with West Australians Brent Smoothy and Reese Burgess in sixth by just three seconds and Brett Rogers and Brett Richardson in seventh a further eight seconds behind.
Making up the rest of the top 10 are Ally Howells and Sarah Corrigan, Garry and Tamara Turnbull and Damien Nicol and Cameron Percy.
The highest placed KINCROME SXS Motorsport Australia Championship crew was young gun Josh Wiedman, who worked his way up the field throughout the day to finish 14th outright.
Just six seconds behind the youngster was veteran Glen Akroyd and Michael Price, while Queenslander Glenn Brinkman and Dale Moscatt rounded out the class top three for the day, more than three minutes behind.
The other highest placed class crews to complete the day’s five laps were Chris Pickert and Byron Brown in Performance 2WD, Rod and Kodi Visser in Sportslites and Connor Corrigan, who was the fastest Super 1650 buggy alongside Ryder Taylor.
The action resumes tomorrow with another five laps from 8:30am ACST.