At what age were you when you first got involved in motorsport?
Who was your biggest influence in rallying when growing up?
Marcus Gronholm & Sebastian Loeb.
What was your very first rally car?
What is the ultimate special stage / rally for you?
Whanga Coast, Rally NZ.
What is your rally highlight to date?
Winning the 2012 International Rally of Otago.
Congratulations on winning the 2014 Historic Rally Championship. What’s next for you?
Spring Rally in a couple of weeks in Geraldine. We have a few improvements for the RX7 that we are going to try out for next year. All going to plan, that will be the last event for the year in that car.
We saw the very cool Citroen CS2 at Taranaki. Can you tell us a little more about the car?
We were going to build a new car to do Targa and some selected seal events, but decided to buy an S1600 WRC car from Portugal. It is a 2007 Citroen C2 S1600 built by PH Sport. It had only done 600kms when purchased this year. This car has only ever done a few sealed events overseas. It has never been on gravel, so it is in mint condition. It puts out 225hp at 9000 rpm, and weighs in at 1000kg. The only problem we have with the car, is a lack of top speed. At Taranaki, it was all out at 165kph. We have ordered a different ratio which should get us close to 185kph.
Will you be competing in the Targa South Island event in October?
Yes. We’re looking very forward to it, although it’s going to be a long week in the Citroen as it’s very hard to tour in due to its go cart type nature. It can be very peaky, and it’s extremely hard to take off without launch control. J It is also incredibly noisy inside the cabin, as everything is mounted straight to the chassis. It makes the RX7 sound quiet inside.
Being a small car, where does Dave keep his hair products?
Well hopefully Dave might grow up by the time Targa arrives, and he might realise he’s not in the 80s anymore! If not, I’m sure he’ll have a hairdresser booked in at Invercargill to re-tip his hair!
What’s been your scariest moment in motorsport so far?
Certainly this year’s Otago Rally was a very close call. On reccy, we probably made a bad note, and it was almost like a double corner. We went off backwards, and the only thing stopping us going down a 100mtr cliff was a bit of 150mm drainage pipe sticking out of the hillside, which the RX7 managed to belly its fuel tank on. The Rally Gods were smiling on us that day.
What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport. Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive? And why? And what advice could you give an up-and-coming driver?
Well, I started rallying in a Datsun 1200 coupe, and still look back at those times with fond memories. It was great for learning the basics of car control, and was cheap to run. It definitely made me a quicker driver later on, as I had to learn how to keep up the road speed through corners, as I couldn’t rely on horsepower. I think a lot of people make the mistake of jumping straight into a 4wd without learning the basics first. They would be a much better driver in the long run if they started off in a 2wd car first. Miles, and more miles, is the key. Nothing will make you go faster than more miles. Go out and enter everything you can afford to do – within reason.
In your opinion, who was the best rally driver of all time and why?
Marcus Gronholm, for his humour and flat out style. He was never afraid to say what he felt. It’s also hard to look past Loeb as just an amazing driver on all surfaces. He’s freakishly talented. I don’t think we will see anyone like him for a long time. It’s a shame he retired.
Other than rallying, what other things / work are you involved in?
I quite like collecting old Mazda road cars. I’m currently restoring a factory Mazda Rotary Ute. Apart from that, work seems to make up the rest of my time. I own a plumbing company in Christchurch which employs 35 staff. It is incredibly busy with the rebuild of Christchurch.
What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
Rumour has it I quite like going out for a few drinks. I also enjoy going to concerts, and reliving my youth.
Do you have any other talents that would surprise people (are you a budding artist / musician etc)?
Unfortunately, I’m not that talented at anything else. Or so I’m told.
Thanks for a great interview Klinky. I really appreciate you taking part as I know how busy you are.