Photo credit: Geoff Ridder

Grey Roots Annual Rally Driver Rankings Announced

The Grey Roots Group have released their annual rankings of New Zealand’s
fastest rally drivers, in this their 17 th year since inception.
Roots spokesman Kingsley Jones explains, “The lists are again designed to
reflect outright speed as opposed to the biggest budget or the newest car. The
fact that they’re determined by your peers also makes them particularly
cherished by the rally community.”

He adds, “It doesn’t hurt that they’ve occasionally been a little contentious.
One of our original briefs was to keep rallying to the forefront during our off
season. If some competitors are outraged at their ranking, or even omission,
then at least they’re still talking about the sport.”

2022 Fastest tarmac drivers (2021 rank in brackets)
1. Leigh Hopper19
2. Cameron Ross (3)
3. Rory Callaway (4)
4. Jason Gill (1)
5. Martin Dippie (2)
6. Mike Tubbs (6)
7. Marcus Van Klink
8. David Rogers (10)
9. Andrew Oakley (9)
10. Robert Darrington (8)
with Ivan Knauf, Brian Green and Tim McIver just failing to make the cut.

2022 Fastest 2wd gravel drivers
1. Jackson Clendon
2. Marcus Van Klink (3)
3. Deane Buist (4)
4. Jordan Grant
5. Jonty Brenssell
6= Dylan Thomson (10), Anthony Jones (14)
8. Brent Taylor (5)
9. John Silcock (12)
10. Shane Murland (6=)
with Jeff Judd, Charlie Evans and Zeal Jones on the cusp of selection.

“We’ve also made two further announcements in recent days,” continues
Jones. “John Kennard has once again been confirmed as winner of the
Ballast Trophy, awarded to the Most Valuable Passenger. This is the ninth
time John has won the title, since we began recognizing codrivers in 2011.
He truly is in a league of his own.”

The other (more unfortunate) award is for Crash of the Year. “This year the
award goes to veteran Ashton Wood and Chris Lancaster for their efforts on
Targa South Island. It was heart-rending listening on the video to that iconic
Escort tumbling down the road. We hope both car and occupants make full

Special mention however must also go to Robbie Stokes who made multiple
attempts at winning this insalubrious title.”

2022 Overall Fastest gravel drivers
1. Hayden Paddon (1)
2. Shane Van Gisbergen
3. Ben Hunt (3)
4. Robbie Stokes (2)
5. Raana Horan (4)
6. Ari Pettigrew (18)
7. Matt Summerfield (8)
8. Emma Gilmour (5)
9. Todd Bawden (12)
10= Josh Marston (9), Dylan Turner (6)
12. Kingsley Jones (15)
13. Phil Campbell (17)
14. Jack Hawkeswood (10)
15. Regan Ross (11)
16. Haydn Mackenzie (21)
17. Jackson Clendon – 2wd
18. Glenn Inkster
19= Jeff Ward, Andy Martin (23)
with David Sievers, Matt Jensen and Mason Grimmer missing a top 20 slot
by the narrowest of margins.

‘It’s been a very good year for the sport, with the return of two pinnacle
events to the calendar in Rally New Zealand WRC and the Silver Fern
marathon,” says Jones. “The NZRC is looking particularly healthy with strong
fields, and it’s very noticeable that our very best drivers are all running
Category 1 cars at national level, so competition remains intense. We know
there’s new cars and returning drivers lining up for the 2023 championship,
so with Hayden’s commitments in Europe it leaves that door open a little
wider for title aspirants.”

“We’re particularly buoyed by the youngsters starting to shine in the 2wd
ranks, as these will be our top drivers in the decade to come. The Marty
Roestenburg-led initiative to relaunch the North Island rally series will also
be a critical step for those seeking to move up from clubman level or
regional rallysprints to seek national honours.”

“Speaking of which – does anyone want to buy a slightly used Skoda Fabia
R5?” he adds mischievously.

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