As you know, in the weekend Phillip and I competed in the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, the Daybreaker Rally. As expected this was an extremely tough round contested over 200km of Manuawatu roads. We managed to finish up 11th overall and 2nd 2wd.
The alarm was set for 4:30am on Friday morning for us to set off to Stage 1 for reconnaissance. It was important that we had some good notes for the first two stages, as although they only covered 25km in total they were to be done in the dark. It looked as though even though we were 14th on the road there was still going to be plenty of shingle on the roads throughout the day.
Another early morning for the team on Saturday with the alarm now set to 3am, and we were out at the first stage a little after 5am. Unfortunately we were having a few problems with the computer system with the car struggling to idle and the shift cut not working in the gearbox, so I was going to have to use the clutch all day. We set a good time through the darkness of Stage 1, 12th fastest overall. Stage 2 the sun had come up so there was no need to use the light pod, however halfway through this relatively short stage the car stalled on an acute left hander, losing only 10 seconds but many placings in the competitive field.
After the service we decided to push to make up the 18sec on the fastest 2wd, and managed to do just that as well as a further 18 second cushion heading into the next service after setting a top 10 stage time. We headed into the next stage after making a quick roadside tyre change. We struggled a bit in these stages with the roads narrowing up and getting rather technical. Tyson managed to pull a couple of blinders and we were back into 2nd 2wd heading into the afternoon stages. It was pretty tiring heading into the last afternoon stages having been driving for 12 hours, but the battle was on as we set 2 very competitive times, 7th and 8th overall with one stage to go. At this point there was only 0.2 seconds and 24km between Tyson and I for 2wd honours.
We were pushing on the final stage again and set a fast but clean time with no obvious points that we lost time on. However it wasn’t quite enough, we finished the day 2nd 2wd and 11th overall, just 7 seconds behind 10th and the fastest 2wd.
We were pretty stoked to have finished and set some great times. We also enjoyed having a close duel with someone for the first time of the season, and when the pressure was on proved to ourselves that we can drive completely committed to the notes. A big thanks to Trev for all the work behind the scenes and Phillip for all the effort.
Thanks to the sponsors Farmlands, VJ Distributers, Freshmax, HB Aviation, John Bates and Gull for all the support.