Christchurch rally driver Josh Marston, won the two-wheel-drive class at the recent Possum Bourne Memorial Rally to close within only three points in the championship fight behind leading rival, Phil Campbell, heading into the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) in just over a month.
The penultimate event also saw Marston, piloting his Rubber Developments Ford Fiesta R2, win the power stage which scored the 28 year old driver bonus championship points, ensuring a title fight at the Rally Wairarapa.
“We’re obviously delighted with the win here. We knew we could do it but we were under no illusions it was going to be tough, especially with the additional tarmac stages,” said Marston.
In a NZRC first, rally organisers introduced a series of tarmac stages for the crews to compete across which included both the Hampton Downs and Pukekohe race tracks, with Pukekohe also the spiritual home of Possum Bourne.
“The tarmac stages were actually pretty good. We prefer the gravel but it was still a lot of fun to compete across both surfaces in one day.”
The Possum Bourne Memorial Rally also celebrated the life and achievements of iconic New Zealand Rally driver, Possum Bourne, and Marston says he’s happy about taking the win there.
“Not only was it great to win this rally because it honoured Possum [Bourne] who was an absolute legend, but we also thought it was going to be really tough to beat Phil [Campbell] on roads he’s competed on a lot while I’d never been on these roads before,” explained Marston.
“Everything just seemed to work and the Rubber Developments Fiesta was absolutely faultless all day. We couldn’t be happier.”
Minor problems, such as intercom failure and punctures, hampered Marston’s championship fight earlier in the season but the team was finally given a break over the weekend with no issues hindering the team’s progress.
Marston and his Rubber Developments team are now looking ahead to the final round of the NZRC, to be held as part of Rally Wairarapa, early next month.
“We’ve done Rally Wairarapa a few times in the past as it’s been a part of the national championship for a while. But we’re still not exactly sure what to expect because the event has been cut from two days down to one, so I’m sure the organisers have a few little surprises for us,” said Marston.
The final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship is Rally Wairarapa, set to be held on Saturday 5 October around Masterton. Crews will compete across 134.11 kilometres of closed special stages to the north of Masterton over one day of competition.
Marston’s 2013 NZRC campaign is supported by Rubber Developments, RDL Performance, ILS, Castrol and Signwise.
Media Release: Alana McIsaac (September, 2013)