Photo credit: Alana McIsaac

Pre Rally Gisborne from Ben Hunt

This weekend the team is on its way to Gisborne to compete in the 4th round of the New Zealand Rally Championship.

It has been 3 years since we have competed in the region the last time we were there we won our 2nd NZRC 2wd title over two days of competition. The Rally is basically a whole new event to the team there is only a few roads that crosses over since our only visit to the area in 2012.

The big talking point of the event is the return of the Motu stage, its been pretty cool reading all the memories and stories that current and past competitors have been sharing on the NZRC championship Facebook page. Just about every tale has a little bit of love and hate in it. I’m looking forward to making my own story in there.

Leading up to the event the car has had a good strip down and rebuild of the main mechanical parts, with no real damage internally the process was done without any stress or major repair bills. Now all the parts are looking like factory new and the car itself is looking very good. And had a chance to bed the new CL Brakes in last night.

This is the mid point to our season with over half the available days of competitive rallying now completed. I’ve analysed results and stage times for the first half and I’m very satisfied with everything it shows. We have had a good start with two maximum points hauls, a good amount of stage wins, the ability to really push when I need to make up time is something we have worked on this year and also being able to pull back when the advantage is in my favour and really conserve the car. We have so far put our selves in a great position for the championship and need to have a few more conservative rallies in the next few exciting events to come.

There is 145 km of competitive special stages this weekend , there are no repeat stages during the bulk of the competition so road order tactics might come to play this weekend. My final decision will be depending on the road condition that I find during recce as there are a lot of factors that can alter our decision, the stages in this area are prone to cutting up and being very slippery when wet so running further up the field could lead to an advantage. The other factor playing in my mind is the Motu stage 46km of tight twisty stuff and the 90 odd pages of notes that I’m expecting there is a very real chance of catching other competitors. There is a record set in here by Colin Mcrae in a Subaru that I think might be worth giving a little bit of a nudge if the conditions are right.

Other big news between rallies has been Hayden Paddon and John Kennard’s result in the WRC, in case you missed it Hayden not only won multiple stages at the event he lead everyone for two days of competition until mechanical failure slowed him, he was able to use kiwi ingenuity and patch the car together to make it back to the safety of service. He managed another stage win the following day before consolidating his efforts into an amazing 2nd place. It was a proud moment to be a fellow country man and competitor.

Its made me think about where I want to take my rallying and its defiantly time to sit down with the right people with experience of running overseas and get an international target budget together. The closest event to NZ is WRC Australia this event will be one ill be targeting to make the starting line, in the not to distant future.

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