NZ Rally Championship – Round 3 (Rally of Canterbury)
Another class win at his home rally has put Christchurch driver Hamish Anderson in a commanding position to retain his Open two-wheel-drive rally championship title.
Anderson and co-driver Sarah Brennan drove a tactical rally to ensure they scored maximum championship points and head back to the North Island for the next event with one hand already on the trophy.
Not only did the pair win their category, a 13th place overall finish in the New Zealand championship field was also their best ever result.
“The plan was always to finish with the best points haul so everything went to plan,” said Anderson.
“We dropped some time on the last two forestry stages because I knew the roads would be very slippery in places and we had everything to lose and nothing to gain. We cruised to the finish and scored our best home rally result to date.”
The Canterbury Rally was the third round of the series and with their main opponent not entered, it was a chance to drive for the championship and not push hard for an overall result.
“If we can finish second in class at the next round then we can’t be beaten in retaining the title we won last year,” said Anderson.
Following two night-time stages in the Ashley Forest on Saturday night, the main part of the rally was fought out over public road stages in North Canterbury that took the field as far north as Cheviot, before heading back towards the Ashley Forest for a repeat of the night stages, but this time run in daylight and in the opposite direction.
Anderson’s Toyota Levin ran faultlessly throughout the rally, a minor problem with a bottom arm bush in the car’s steering not causing any major issue.
“It’s a real tribute to the team that our car ran perfectly,” added Anderson. “They have prepared such a good car every time we’ve had no major issues so far this season.
“And it was also another perfect rally from Sarah. Not one mistake from her calling the ‘notes’ to me all weekend, even during the night stages. We haven’t competed a lot at night but it was no issue, again a perfect result from Sarah.”
Anderson and Brennan now head to the Wairarapa at the end of the month for the next round with a healthy 64-point lead in their championship class.
The Anderson rally team are supported by Goodyear, Rally Tyres NZ Ltd, Mammoth Web, Autolign, Dunlop, P J Repairs, Beaurepaires and Inflatablez: The Cube Event Tent, Clearwater Painting, Renovating and Decorating and Gull.