Competing for the first time on Australian soil Team ENZED Abarth was not only the first under 3 litre car home in the 2016 Classic Adelaide Rally GT Trophy competition, but also secured a mighty 3rd place overall finish. The ex-works 1400cc turbocharged Abarth was beaten only by a BMW M3 V8 and a 4wd Subaru WRX, both much more powerful cars.
“But we did beat home a Porsche GT3, so that made the weekend,” said team owner and driver Mike Lowe. “We also kept our 100% finishing record intact, now into our 23rd year!”
Just a few days before the start of the event, Abarth Racing couriered down a new ECU and injectors (from a Ferrari 599GTO it turned out) to give the Team the latest upgrade in the quest for more power and better drivability. With no time to road-test at speed, the first time the system was run in anger was Stage One of the rally.
“We had a difficult first day and to be honest I thought the new software wasn’t doing what it should but as the day went on, the new ECU self-learning function kicked in and we got faster and faster. By the end of the day we were flying,” said Lowe.
In an effort to recover time, Lowe and co-driver Kerry Chevis attacked the Day Two stages from the get-go, clawing back two positions before lunch, eyeing up second place. Unfortunately two of the days stages were cancelled meaning the crew could only really consolidate their solid third placing. At least this meant an easier job for the service crew Giles Wilson and Brian Gummow.
The car ran faultlessly throughout the event, a credit to the preparation undertaken by Team ENZED Abarth NZ-based crew of Nigel Derbyshire and Dave Jowett.