Kaikoura’s Regan Ross has moved into the lead of the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Series after a superb performance saw him take the Otago Rally round win over Deane Buist and Marcus van Klink.
Round one winner Darren Galbraith set the pace in stage one, but brake and turbo problems would see him drop back and eventually retire. That left Buist to take the lead after stage two. Ross would take the lead in stage three, then cement it with a storming drive through the 32 kilometre stage four, giving himself a 20 second gap over Buist and van Klink that he would maintain for the remainder of the day.
Outside of the podium places, Carter Strang came home fourth ahead of Richard Bateman, John Silcock, Tony Gosling, Ashton Wood, Jeff Judd and Graham Ferguson. Strangely two-wheel drive cars dominated, with only Strang and Bateman representing the four-wheel drive machines in the top ten.
Class A for cars two-wheel drive cars up to 1300cc saw just one finisher, with Johnathon Taylor taking his second consecutive round win in the class.
Class B (1301-1600cc two-wheel drive) saw a titanic battle between Mike Sheehan and David Taylor, the pair separated by just 11.1 seconds in Sheehan’s favour after the days action, with Russell Burgess coming home third.
Class C for two-wheel drive cars over 1600cc saw Buist take a convincing win over van Klink with Tony Gosling’s third place a strong reward for some top three outright stage times.
With fancied runners Galbraith and Matt Summerfield both retiring early, Carter Strang claimed Class D (4wd class) honours over Richard Bateman, with James Mitchell rounding out a Mitsubishi podium clean sweep.
The classic class (Class F) as well as overall honours went the way of Ross, who led home John Silcock and Ashton Wood. In total, five of the classics made up the top ten in a strong showing for the older cars.
With a maximum points haul at Otago, Ross now takes a nine point lead over Jeff Judd in the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Series points standings, with Bateman a further two points back. Strang and van Klink see themselves tied for fourth, only a point behind Bateman, as the series heads to Rally Canterbury on June 4th.