It seemed a short trip up to Whangarei from Raglan in comparison to the long haul down to Dunedin. The weather was warm and balmy on Wednesday through to Friday however it packed it in somewhat on Saturday and Sunday. This made for slippery conditions on stage and unfortunately we didn’t take a selection of tyres with us. Last year the hot roads chewed up our tyres; this year tyre wear wasn’t a problem but certainly we should have taken some soft tyres. While the drivers and co-drivers saw a lot of mud and rain we don’t think we saw anywhere near as much as the service crews. A BIG thanks to them for pushing through the conditions and still having a smile at the end.
While we were looking to improve on last year’s stage times, we still had to drive to the conditions. There were big ruts to contend with and on the last stage on Saturday (SS Helena 2) we had rain and darkness, giving near zero visibility. We can only blame ourselves for not putting the night light back on the car at service!!
As with any two day rally there are usually a fairly high number of retirements and this rally was no exception -we were extremely pleased to finish. The engine is certainly running like a clock and doing everything it should. As always, there is plenty for us to learn with our driving and pace notes. As is customary with our team we have some more modifications planned to improve grip and control wheel spin.
Our problems during the two days included no intercom mid-stage, a flat tyre and having to make the difficult decision to tour through the last stage (SS16 Tangiua 2) to preserve the engine due to us having fuel pressure problems. It was more important to finish the rally and gain individual and team points.
We were most impressed with our new Evo Corse hydraulic car jack – these are now available through Hayden Paddon Motorsport. These jacks are superbly engineered, making it quick and easy to change flatties, even with a light weight co-driver package!
There is always great spectator support up at Whangarei and to see so many families out enjoying the rally was fantastic. One of the spectators kindly picked up our back bumper which came off in stage and dropped it back to service. To see kids out at gateways waving during touring stages is brilliant – they are the next generation of rally drivers in the making!
Our individual results were 14th overall (in NZRC) and 1st in class. This season we are lucky to have joined with two top class teams to form the Mitsubuki team. With Matt and Nicole Summerfield winning the rally and Darren Galbraith/Rocky Hudson coming third overall and third in class, this result currently puts our team in 1st position with 145 points. Congrats to Matty and Nicole – great job!
Big thanks to the sponsor of the Championship – Brian Green Property Group. Thanks also to the volunteers who make the rally so friendly.
THANKS to our sponsors for their support – Handy Rentals, WDE and Paddon Rally Foundation
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