Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer, from Mount Manganui and Hamilton respectively, came through Friday’s rock-strewn stages to hold fifth place in the JWRC class by day’s end.
Holder and Farmer did one run of the event’s shakedown stage, opting to save their tyres for the rally itself which got underway on Thursday evening (CEST) with a 3.36km super special stage on Lousada rallycross circuit near Porto in the north of Portugal. They were 12th equal among the 14 JWRC crews.
Friday’s itinerary took them toward the Spanish border for three repeated stages. As the field got smaller, Holder and Farmer kept their car on the road with times that saw them improve steadily on the class standings throughout the day.
Holder wraps up Friday’s action: “The first full day of Portugal is done and dusted and it certainly lived up to its rough nature. Kicking off the day, the first stage wasn’t bad, although we bent the steering rack somewhere. We lost a little time on the second stage with a puncture, but we were able to drive out on it. The third stage of the morning wasn’t too bad, nice and clean but you’re constantly having to dodge rocks, and I mean rocks the size of your head!
“We went to the lunchtime service trying to work out how rough things were going to be for the afternoon; our plan was just look after the car which is what we did. But the second pass was unbelievably rough, these big rocks just come out of nowhere. We spent a lot of time trying to dodge them so the speed wasn’t real fast but we got the car home safe and consolidated ourselves in fifth position. The guys in front of us were going quite fast. We might look to push on a wee bit quicker as the weekend goes on. At the moment we’re still learning how to drive in these ruts and avoid all the boulders, but a good result so far. With lots of carnage throughout the whole field so we’re happy to be here in one piece.”
On Saturday Holder and Farmer tackle six stages totalling 154.64km, and the rally concludes on Sunday with a further five special stages.
Holder and Farmer are the first New Zealanders to enter the JWRC, the entry-level WRC category, and aim for this to be the first step in their bid to create a full-time WRC career.
Results are easy to find on: https://www.ewrc-results.com/results/44260-vodafone-rally-de-portugal-2018/
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by Kate Gordon-Smith/Relish Communications