The Akademos was held on 17 March and directed by George Davidson.
ARC Round 1 ‘ 79 MUCC Akademos
Jeff Beaumont takes up the story…
The opening round of the 1979 Australian Rally Championship would be as competitive as ever, with the four factory cars expected to fight for the Title.
This 800 kilometre Akademos Rally started and finished in Sale, as usual, and ran through the mountains and forests of East Gippsland and with the major breaks at Bruthen.
Early in the event, blinding rain was followed by thick fog, turning the mountain tracks into skating rinks. At the end of the first Division the four factory cars were leading, as expected.
Bob Watson had fitted a turbocharger to his Peugeot 504 but encountered fuel problems in the first Division while Portman / Runnalls were out with a failed clutch in the Grunter.
The second Division contained a 102 kilometre stage, won by Fury, with Ross Dunkerton and Greg Carr just a minute behind. Garry Harrowfield had a flat tyre and dropped 23 minutes.
The final Division began with the four factory cars quite evenly poised. But two stages of 132 and 35 kilometres saw the Ford challenge collapse. Carr had slowed with gearbox problems and Bond had brake issues.
So the two Datsun Stanza’s powered on to victory under adverse conditions. An outstanding performance was that of Chris Power in sixth place.
They were valuable points for Ross Dunkerton and Jeff Beaumont, who went on to score solid points in every ARC round this year and finally win this year’s Australian Rally Championship.