Just getting to last weekend’s Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa was a mission for Mt Maunganui based rally driver Dave Holder, but it turns out that was only the beginning of the challenges the Stadium Cars Mitsubishi team would face over the course of the event.
With the engine rebuild after the previous round being sorted by Mike at Force Automotive and Stadium Cars Ltd providing extra backing for the team, Holder was feeling blessed to even compete in the rally which doubled as the fourth round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) driven by VINZ.
Friday morning’s reconnaissance of the racing stages proved to throw up more than a few rocks when co-driver Ben Hawkins became car sick, and by the third stage was unable to continue. Holder, not to be deterred, jumped in the back seat of a competitor’s vehicle and started writing the pace notes himself. A long pace note checking session had them sorted by late Friday night.
“It’s just one of those things. It was what it was, and we had a rally to compete” reflects Holder “Unfortunately Ben had a rough weekend with his car sickness continuing into the rally, on stage two he had a good crack at filling up the car footwell! He did a damn good job to overcome it and get us through the rest of the day.”
With top three stage placings, the team was on schedule for their third podium in a row, with Mason and Hunt sitting in first and second. However a loose wheel heading to the seventh stage required some attention and saw them cop a 50 second penalty for being late to the start, which was to prove costly.
“We were very lucky, it could have been a lot worse had a fellow competitor not noticed and let us know. The wheel may have come off in the stage costing us the rally, as it was we remedied it and it cost us 50 seconds and a little loss of confidence” says Holder.
Going into the ninth and final stage of the rally Holder was third overall by 1.1 second over Taylor, but was pipped at the post and slipped to fourth 1.9 seconds behind.
With Taylor not registered for the championship, Holder took third in the NZRC, making it three from four podiums this season and pushing him into third overall in the 2014 drivers standings. The battle for second will be fought over the next two rallies with four competitors in with a chance, Mason having already taken out the championship.
“It was a very difficult rally for us, and we are happy to have finished in third and bank some more points” says Holder
The two month gap until the next event will see Holder and Hawkins spend time working on and learning to write their own notes before the fifth championship round in August. Holder will also team up with mentor Hayden Paddon this coming weekend for a testing session, which will provide some valuable experience and setup insight from the factory Hyundai WRC driver.
Holder Brothers Racing would like to thank and acknowledge the support of:
Stadium Cars, Gull Fuel, VINZ, Magnum Compliance, Force Automotive, Endless Brakes, Prelim, Sew Hot Monograms, Nichibo, Mount Wheel Alignment, Speedy Signs Tauranga, Attentive Design, Jason Gorton Building, Bay Panel Beaters, Tauranga Beaurepaires and Monit Rally Computers.