Lee Robson has scored another top result at the second round of the Rally Xtreme series over Queens birthday weekend, extending his lead in the XT1 class with a second place in class and seventh overall.
It was an event of two halves for Robson, who battled severe sun strike and heavy gravel in the morning before fighting back in the afternoon with a string of rapid stage times to climb back from outside the top 20 up as high as sixth place, before reclaiming seventh place on the final stage of the rally.
Having not contested the Hawkes Bay event previously, Robson faced a baptism of fire on the opening Triple Bridges stage, difficult to follow at the best of times but combined with heavy sun strike called for a cautious approach.
Things became even trickier on stage two when Robson and co-driver Glenn Goldring were advanced to fifth car on the road while those ahead of them suffered problems. A combination of heavy gravel and a wider tyre left Robson struggling for grip, although he was able to move up into the top 10.
But when the rally moved onto the second pass of stages, where gravel had been swept off the line, Robson mounted a charge and immediately set the fourth fastest time on stage five. On the same stage, he moved into second place in the XT1 class.
A consistent performance across the afternoon saw Robson maintain his spot up until the penultimate stage, which was held entirely on tarmac. Despite putting up a meritorious performance using gravel rally tyres as opposed to the majority of his rivals using tarmac tyres, Robson dropped back to eighth place, having sat as high as sixth place.
With just one second between himself and seventh placed Dylan Turner heading into the final super special stage, Robson put on a charge and not only record a time that put him in front of Turner for the rally, but also saw him take his first ever stage win. The result also left Robson second in the XT1 class, taking a strong haul of points to go with his round one win.
“All in all I’m stoked, it was a really good result and once we got through the morning, we had some really good speed,” said Robson. “But it was also a great learning experience being that far up on the road.”
Robson now turns his attention to the Daybreaker Rally in the Manawatu on June 29.
Press Release by BB Media