Finke Flashback: 2018

Shannon and Ian Rentsch made it back-to-back Tatts Finke Desert Race victories in 2018 after a superb performance over the course of the three-day event.

Having already won the St George 399 earlier that year, the Rentschs went into their 16th attempt of the famous off road race full of confidence and in red-hot form.

Both factors were on display throughout the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship’s (AORC) then second round as they dominated the competition from the minute they hit the dust in Saturday’s prologue.

Claiming pole position, the father-son duo then comfortably made their way down to Finke on the dust-free trail, ending the first day three minutes ahead of the next driver in Toby Price – who was attempting the ‘Iron Man Double’.

Arriving at the event’s halfway point a further seven and half minutes behind Price and his trophy truck was two-time AORC champion David Fellows, while Greg Gartner came in just 30 seconds after.

Rounding out the top five for the first day of action was Jack Rhodes and David Pullino, with the duo 13 minutes behind Rentsch.

On day two, Rentsch continued on his merry way back up to Alice Springs to secure his sixth ‘King of the Desert’ title with ease – the Victorian crossing the line almost five minutes ahead of Rhodes and Pullino.

Despite never looking like he would lose the lead to a hard charging Price in the day’s earlier stages, his journey up north was made easier when Price failed to make the second checkpoint.

Price’s retirement opened up the door for Rhodes and Fellows to fight for second place, and while Rhodes was faster on the second day – Fellows’ time down to Finke was enough to secure the podium’s second step.

Rentsch’s dominant victory put him in an almost unattainable position to win his ninth AORC title at Rainbow later that year, a win he was thrilled to get.

“It’s awesome. We’ve never won it from start to finish so to get the prologue, lead down to Finke and then back to Alice, it’s pretty special,” Rentsch said post-event.

“It’s probably up there with the best one we have done.

“Toby was only three minutes behind and I knew that he’d be pushing pretty hard. That truck would handle pretty good in the rough stuff so we just really kept going as quick as we could and really had no idea where he was until around 70ks to go.”

“Finke is the biggest race for us, we don’t think too much about the championship when we are here.”

Talbot Cox and Andrew North finished the event in fourth place ahead of Michael Marson and Chris Colborne who rounded out the top five.

The Rentsch duo then secured their ninth outright Australian Off Road Championship later that year.