Tauranga’s Phil Campbell has gone close to adding another national championship round win at the final event of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the Handy Rentals Hamilton Waitomo Rally, held over the weekend.
Campbell and co-driver Mal Peden have shown pace throughout the 2019 NZRC season, starting with a podium finish but frustrating technical glitches have cost further strong results.
With a desire to secure a strong result to finish the season, Campbell pressed on in the opening stage and immediately set the second fastest stage time, then repeating the result in stage two and again in stage three to sit a solid second at the half way point.
A third fastest time in stage four saw Campbell look solid in second until the following stage. The Roofing Store Ford Fiesta AP4 was again second fastest, but a turbo failure for the rally leader meant Campbell headed to the final stage with a lead of 17.2 seconds and 43 kilometres to defend a fast closing Raana Horan.
Knowing that a rally win was on the line, Campbell left nothing on the table in the final stage, but unfortunately just 2.2km into the stage, cut a corner and damaged the left front suspension, ending his rally gut-wrenchingly close to victory.
“Obviously we’re gutted to come so close and have such a small mistake be so costly. Raana (Horan, eventual rally winner) was coming up fast in the afternoon and I certainly didn’t want to get to the end and wished I’d pushed harder. We had to give it a go, unfortunately it didn’t come off,” said Campbell.
“The pace across the day though was really encouraging, we had a great run at Rally of the North prior to Waitomo and then we were on the pace right from the start here, so there’s plenty of positives to take away. Now we’ll be able to rebuild over the off season with confidence that we’ll be on the pace in 2020.”
Press Release by BB Media