Looking back five years ago, Mt Maunganui rally driver David Holder could be found watching some of his New Zealand rally heroes in awe…. Now he is challenging those same heroes for the rally lead.
Heading into VINZ International Rally of Whangarei last weekend, Holder had very realistic expectations of his abilities given that he had only done a few kilometres of testing in the Stadium Cars Mitsubishi Evo 8. In what would be his debut in a 4wd rally car, Holder made the decision at the beginning of the event not to look at stage times, instead focusing on improving with each stage across the weekend.
“A number of people were encouraging me throughout the day on Saturday letting me know I was doing a great job, but I still had no idea where we were placed” says Holder.
Unbeknown to Holder he was in the top two or three stage times all day up until the sixth stage, which saw him blitz the field and take not only the stage win and outright lead in the NZRC, but also win the stage over the entire field of APRC cars.
“I finally asked Malcolm (co-driver) at the end of stage six how we were going, and he just gave me a big grin and said to keep doing what I’m doing” shares Holder
“We were half way through that stage when a strong smell of petrol began to fill the car. I had no idea where it was coming from but clearly it was a big leak, with fuel sloshing around the floor on Malcolm’s side of the car”
“Just as well we’ve got Gull Fuel on board this year supporting us, because we certainly wasted a bit on the ground on Saturday” laughs Holder.
With rules preventing a refuel at service the tank ran empty in stage seven, and the refuel before stage eight cost them a five minute penalty and their chances of victory on day one, however a lot of encouragement could be taken from their outstanding pace.
“It’s been great getting a number of encouraging phone calls and emails over the last few days with people showing their support for us. We still have a long way to go this season but it’s great to know so many people are backing us!” says Holder.
Day two started well, until the third stage saw the boys jump the fence for a bit of a paddock excursion. The resulting damage was relatively minimal, but unfortunately they holed the radiator and were unable to continue.
“I think I owe the farmer a bit of fencing… make that a lot of fencing, but surprisingly he wasn’t to grumpy and even opened the gate for us to get out” joked Holder.
A big thank you goes out to Hayden Paddon (Hyundai World Rally Championship driver) for all the advice and support he has offered to make the most of this opportunity. Also to Stadium Cars Ltd whose ongoing support is making this happen for the team.
“We had “Jack” the Stadium Cars teddy bear harnessed to the roof for the weekend ride. Even though the ride was fast and furious he was still smiling at the end, and managed to fit in a cuddle with Malcolm on Saturday night” joked David.
The team now looks forward in preparation for Rally of Otago, the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, where they will aim to gain further experience.
“The plan will be exactly the same, to prepare well, just focus on ourselves, and learn as much as possible” states Holder.
Follow Holder Brothers Racings progress in the Stadium Cars Mitsubishi by going to: www.holderbrothersracing.com
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.