Toby Price is on-track for back-to-back Tatts Finke Desert Race victories after breaking the record for the outbound leg in the Cars division.
Having topped the Method Race Wheels Prologue in Alice Springs, he and navigator Jason Duncan completed the 226km journey to Aputula (Finke) in 1:36.38.5s in their Extreme 2WD class Mitsubishi Triton Trophy Truck.
That beats the record which Price set last year, when he became the first person ever to win Finke on four wheels as well as two, by 2:35s.
More importantly, he holds a big, 5:05.6s lead over the chasing pack, which is headed up by Alumicraft Pro Buggy driver Aaron James.
Third spot is held by Brent Martin/Ben Dawson at a further 1:12.3s off the pace in their Jimco Prolite Buggy, with Tyler Owen/Max Owen 5.9s away from the podium as it stands in another Alumicraft Pro Buggy.
Six-time Kings of the Desert, Shannon and Ian Rentsch, round out the top five in their Jimco Pro Buggy, but this year's Prologue runners-up, Josh Howells/Eric Hume (Jimco Pro Buggy), have recorded a DNF.
There has also been a significant development in the BFGoodrich Motorsport Australia Off Road Championship with Ryan Taylor (Tautum AK47 Pro Buggy), who arrived in Alice Springs on top of the title standings, dropping outside the Finke top 30 due to tyre damage on the outbound leg.
Four-time Finke podium finisher Beau Robinson (Trophy Truck, Extreme 2WD) and 2016 winner Glenn Owen (Jimco Pro Buggy) join Howells as being out of the contest altogether.
Competitors will camp at Apautula tonight before the inbound leg begins tomorrow at 07:15 local time/07:45 AEST, with the first Car expected at the start/finish line in Alice Springs at 09:05 local time/09:35 AEST.
Leg 1: Finke Desert Race Cars, Top 10
|Toby Price/Jason Duncan
|Brent Martin/Andre De Simone/Ben Dawson
|Tyler Owen/Max Owen
|Shannon Rentsch/Ian Rentsch
|Hayden Bentley/Hannah Bentley/Viv Coe/Sam Bentley
|Greg Gartner/Jamie Jennings/Mark Hannaford
|Jake Swinglehurst/Kate Swinglehurst
|Toby Whateley/Simon Herrmann
|Jason Richards/Kristy Richards Sam Richards