14 November 2004
The final day of competition on this year's Telstra Rally Australia was appropriately exciting, with drama and upset throughout the last group of stages.
There was euphoria in the ARAI Motorsports camp as Toshi Arai's win firmly plants the Japanese in 2nd place in the championship. It was a well-deserved victory here in Australia where Arai was quickest on every test of the final day. Toshi did have a very big moment on the second test of the morning, going off the road and through the trees for a short distance before recovering. Although he lost a few seconds, he was never threatened, managing to win that stage also.
The biggest disappointment of the rally for SUBARU was the retirement this morning of long-time leader Alister McRae, who went out after dominating the event from Friday's opening stages. Mechanical failure is being blamed for his early exit. It is particularly disappointing for the Scot as a win in Australia would have sealed the 2004 PCWRC crown; where as the result today leaves him lying 5th in the points, so close is the competition in the Production Car World Rally Championship.