23-year-old rally driver Ari Pettigrew has made a great start to his first overall championship in the Brian Green Properties NZ Rally Championship. For the first time Ari is using a modern AP4 turbo 4WD car for the season and he also has the services of 2016 NZ Champion navigator Jason Farmer in the car with him. Ari quickly showed he deserves the move to the top group with a bunch of top 5 results including 2nd and 3rdresults among them in the first few stages at Otago. A great start indeed.
Ari won the Open 2WD class in his older 1990’s BMW in the NZ Rally Championship in 2021. This year he is running against the best of New Zealand’s Rally Teams. Ari and Jason were planning to go a bit carefully in Otago while Ari learnt the Holden Barina AP4 that had previously rallied by Bathurst hero Greg Murphy. A safe ride to the finish was the plan, this was achieved and more. To his surprise Ari found he could mostly keep up with Kiwi teams at Otago, with exception of Hayden Paddon who as a professional WRC driver, at this stage no one can challenge. That leaves a group of around 20 other top-class teams who are fighting for their own win, as the fastest of the teams that have a usual job or business during the week. Ari has already shown he can run with the best of these teams.
“We were surprised how good our early times were, we were keeping it easy to ensure we got the Manukau Auto Centre owned Barina AP4 home, while I learn the cars capabilities” commented Ari. “I have always been able to get on the pace straight away from stage one, some others can need a few stages before they get up to full speed, so that helps me” he added.
Ari works for Paddon Rally Group in Cromwell spending his work hours building and maintaining Rally and Race cars for Paddon’s company. In his evenings he prepares the Manukau Auto Centre owned Barina AP4. Ari gets help with his crew team and extra help from his workmates at Paddon’s business, along with willing advice from Hayden Paddon himself. Stu Weeber of Christchurch has also put in a big effort to help get the car ready for this season.
Rally fans had already noticed Ari’s ability in his BMW. With navigator champion Jason Farmer joining the team and the help of Hayden Paddon and his crew, many expect the team to continue to increase their speed. Ari is already showing good speed in the highest class in the NZ Rally Championship.
Next event for the Manukau Auto Centre owned Barina AP4 is the International Rally of Whangarei, the Rally supported by Mark Cromie Motor Group. Ari and Jason are set to go, Ari commented “I can’t wait to head north to the awesome cambered roads of Whangarei, especially after our success there last year.” Ari won 2WD and 7th overall in 2021 Whangarei Rally in his old BMW and hopes 2022 will be even better for the team in their top class AP4 car. This event starts Friday evening 13th May and runs through Saturday and Sunday 14 & 15th.
Ari and Jason thank the help from Manukau Auto Centre – Mitre 10 Trade – Winmax Brake Pads – Paddon Rallysport – R&R Hiab Services – KeelowCraft Boats – Dunlop Tyres – Penrite Oil NZ – Guyton Reinforcing – Gilt Edge – Glasurit Ultra Paints – Universal Sign co – Prolook – Turboshop – The Flooring Centre. The team still have prominent logo and promotional opportunities to add more commercial supporters to join the team. Contact Ari at PaddonRallysport.co.nz
By Ross Teesdale