A steady as she goes approach will be the focus for young rally driver David Holder at the International Rally of Otago this weekend, as he aims to gain further experience in what will be only his second event in a four wheel drive (4wd) rally car.
The rally doubles as the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship powered by VINZ. The opening round, held last month in Whangarei, saw Holder take a shock lead over four time National Champion Richard Mason, before a fuel leak and off-road excursion ended his rally.
“We were pretty surprised with our speed at Whangarei to be fair, pleasantly surprised” says Holder.
“But Otago is a different rally and, to be honest, we expect to be off the pace of the front runners. There’re heaps of fast and technical crests down there, and you have to be fully committed on them to keep up. That takes time in the car and confidence, something we are working to gain more and more of after the switch to 4wd.”
Keeping the learning curve steep, the team also faces an unscheduled co-driver change after previous co-driver Malcolm Peden was unable to secure time off work for Rally of Otago. In the search for a replacement navigator, experienced co-pilot Ben Hawkins put his hand up and will be taking over the duty of guiding Holder through the racing stages.
“I’d tried to talk Ben into jumping in the seat at the start of last season but he has a young family and the timing wasn’t great for him, so I’m absolutely stoked that he’s available now and pleased to announce his smiley face will be in the car for the rest of the season” says Holder.
The teams title sponsor, Stadium Cars, is one of the Otago Rally supporters and will also be backing fellow national 4wd competitor Tony Gosling, and Hyundai World Rally Championship driver Hayden Paddon.
Competing in the Historic section of the rally in a classic Ford Escort, Paddon has been mentoring and assisting Holder over the past two years and will be looking to be near the head of a field of Historic class drivers that includes 1994 World Champion Didier Auriol.
“Having the full Stadium Cars Motorsport team competing in the same event is going to be legend” reckons Holder.
“With Hayden at the rally it really lifts everyone’s game. It’ll be great having him right there to bounce ideas off. Here’s hoping the whole team can all have a good clean run while enjoying a few good laughs along the way.”
Holder’s progress can be followed at http://www.holderbrothersracing.com/ with live updates on the team website during the event which starts this Saturday morning.
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 and Monit Rally Computers.