Strong Safari for Bridgestone-Backed Garland
Sydney's Bruce Garland and Harry Suzuki have raced to another strong result in the 2009 Australasian Safari with third place overall after 3500 gruelling kilometres through outback Western Australia.
Garland and Suzuki, who also have an 11th outright to their credit in this year's Dakar Rally, brought their Bridgestone-backed Isuzu D-MAX ute home in third place after a successful appeal against a two-hour time penalty.
"It was a great event but a very tough week," Garland said.
"We had a few things go wrong. The damage to the fuel tank after we were hit from behind early in the week gave us some problems with fuel delivery, so I don't think we were as economical as we should have been," he said.
The pair were initially penalised two hours for stopping to pick up extra tyres from their support crew.
"We know the regulations and we knew we would get penalised, but we had asked one of the event officials what we were looking at and they said it would be 30 minutes per tyre. Given how far we were ahead of the guys behind us, we figured it was worth the risk because we obviously needed the tyres to keep going. Then the penalty turned out to be an hour per tyre, and that's what pushed us right down to sixth place.
"But we appealed and we're delighted that the stewards have given us back the time and the placing. We didn't get to stand on the podium, but we still have third place and we're pleased with that because we had worked hard for it. The competition out there was really tough."
The seven-day event started in the West Australian capital of Perth last week and covered around 3500km before finishing in the gold mining city of Kalgoorlie.
International entries came from the USA, China, Sweden, South Africa, Japan, New Zealand and the Czech Republic, enhancing the event's reputation as one of the world's toughest and most respected motorsport events.
Bridgestone Australia Ltd. is a subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the largest tyre manufacturer in the world, and employs more than 1500 at facilities around Australia including 600 at its major tyre manufacturing plant in Salisbury, South Australia. Bridgestone Australia Ltd. is a major supplier to manufacturers such as Holden, HSV, Kenworth and Volvo Trucks, and is a major tyre and service provider to most major transport operators and retails tyres through its own franchise channels - Bridgestone Select, Bridgestone Service Centres and Bridgestone Tyre Centres - as well as other channels.