West Auckland’s Clint Cunningham has taken plenty of positives from the weekend’s Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa after his second consecutive clean run.
Cunningham headed to the event optimistic that, after a clean run at Rally of the North, that he may be on top of the engine dramas that have plagued the team right throughout the 2015 season.
A strong start saw Cunningham sit 15th after the opening stage, but a puncture in stage two saw him limp for 15km, which dropped him to 24th.
Having lost the best part of a minute, Cunningham had extra motivation to see how far he could push up the field in the remaining six special stages.
An increase in speed over the two remaining morning stages, a repeat of the opening two tests, saw Cunningham climb back up to 16th place and within striking distance of those ahead.
After the wet morning stages, the afternoon moved to dry, faster stages further south and Cunningham’s times immediately improved, with he and co-driver Glenn Goldring improving to 14th place in the RCK Contractors Mitsubishi with just two stages remaining.
The final two stages saw Cunningham’s best performances of the day, with eleventh and then ninth fastest times in the final two stages seeing Cunningham fight back to eleventh by the end of the event.
“I’m stoked, not only with having a clean run, but the increase in pace over the year. If you compare our times from the start of the year in similar conditions to what we experienced in the morning, we’ve come a long way, but we still have more to find,” said Cunnnigham. “Now we look for a good run at Hawkes Bay, the Central Region series is very much alive for us now.”
Cunningham and his team now turn their attention to the final round of the Geartech Central Region Series, Rally Hawkes Bay, on November 14. After the Wairarapa event, Cunningham sits third equal and in a strong position to fight for outright honours at the series finale.
Press Release by BB Media