Photo credit : Jason Byrne

Post rally event report from Ben Hunt

Series leader Ben Hunt and co-driver Tony Rawstorn produced another front running drive to win the Mahindra Goldrush Rally of Coromandel on Saturday, their fourth victory from five starts in 2015.

The Penultimate round of the 2015 Brian Green New Zealand Championship has drawn to a close, Held in the picturesque Coromandel region based out of the township of Whitianga. Friday night held almost a gala style ceremonial start with a huge crowd gathering to watch the festivities with supermarket trolley races and Clowns walking around entertaining the crowd and plenty of local cuisine available to sample. I had the pleasure of taking a young fella for a drive around the block, its always awesome to see the huge mega watt smile on there face when they get into Winger/ Total/ Gull Subaru.

I decided to run first on the road at the top 5 start draw. During recee there was less gravel on the road from last year and the only major sweeping wouldn’t be until stage 4 so id have a good chance to settle into a nice rhythm and hopefully build a lead before then.

We stayed in Cooks beach during the weekend thanks to our sponsors Vernon developments who own a family batch there, it was a different experience catching a ferry ride across a 200 m body of water to save ourselves a 30 min drive. This length drive payed dividends in the morning with being able to get a good bit of heat into the tyres and transmission before the first stage started.

The first 4 stages all went to plan and slowly little by little we built out a lead from our nearest championship rival Phil Campbell. This year the stage times dropped a lot compared to the event last year maybe a little bit of road familiarity helped but I think the major difference was the championships decision to come back to a 34mm restrictor making the majority of the cars in the field easier to handle in the tight technical downhill sections.

Stages 5 and 6 we ran a conservative approach with tyre strategy to have the best tyres for the power stage. We dropped a little bit of time in stage 5 with a 4th fastest time we came back in stage 6 to record the fastest time.

The final afternoon loop had two short street sprint stages which draw a good size crowd especially at the bottom end where cars played around with the hand brake, there are some cool videos of some of the boys lighting it up and plenty of smoke down there keeping the crowd wanting more.

In the Power Stage I had a big push and drove a very fast and tidy stage putting in a very competitive time that stayed at the top of the time sheets until Alex Kelsey and the MC2 stormed threw with an even faster time completely shattering the stage record its great to see this mean machine out on the stages again its been missed.

Id like to say a huge thanks to Wayne, owner of SubLab Whitianga, for helping with the servicing this weekend. It was awesome to have a great Subaru mechanic able to slip so seamlessly into the team and help out for the event, and also for the use of his workshop leading into the event. Thanks also to Tim from Subaru NZ for coming down and supporting us and experiencing the event first hand!

At the end of the day of competition we had won the event and taken away some bonus points from the power stage all helping towards out Championship Title Aspirations for 2015. After all the calculations have been complete the title fight will come down to the last event with our long time rivals Phil Campbell and Venita Fabbro, over the past 6 years this is the 2nd time we have gone to final event in a battle for the championship with this team and 4th time for us to be battling on the last day of competition. Its great to be in such a competitive championship.

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