Rentsch itching to get back King of the Desert crown

It’s been quite some time since Shannon Rentsch last won the Tatts Finke Desert Race.

The BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship (AORC) veteran has experienced victory at the iconic event an incredible six times but hasn’t won since the 2018 edition.

With Toby Price having enjoyed a dominant run in the the last three events, as well as Rentsch’s car not being up to scratch, it’s been a difficult period for Rentsch.

Since winning the event in 2018, the Victorian’s best result came in 2022 when he finished in fourth place, missing out on the podium by just 43 seconds.

Outside of that, there have been plenty of other close calls in the past five years, including a fifth-place finish in 2019 and a sixth-place finish at last year’s event.

Now with his pro buggy in good shape, and Price unable to compete, Rentsch sits in a good position to break his minor drought and return to the top step of the podium.

Of course, Rentsch considers himself in a fortunate position to have won in Alice Springs in the first place – let alone six times – despite many of the sport’s greats yet to register one themselves.

Shannon Rentsch last won the Tatts Finke Desert Race in 2018.

With that said, the nine-time AORC champion knows what it takes to secure the crown and will be hopeful of doing it again this year.

“To win the Tatts Finke Desert Race, everything needs to go right and all the stars need to align,” Rentsch said.

“It’s a tough race for so many reasons, but mainly because you get all the best drivers and cars in the country, all of whom want to win, and the track itself is a huge challenge.

“The most important aspect is Prologue. If you have a good Prologue, it sets you up to have a good race, but then you need luck to go your way for the rest of the event – especially as the track gets tougher.

“I think having the best drivers in the country is what makes winning the event so rewarding. There is a lot of effort that goes into a Finke campaign, and with the field constantly getting better every year, winning is getting harder.

“I feel very fortunate to have won it so many times – I really do appreciate its significance, but I haven’t won for a few years now, so I am hungrier than ever.”

The Tatts Finke Desert Race takes place in Alice Springs and the remote community of Aputula on 7-10 June.

Photo: Tony Donoghue