Queenstown’s Mike Sheehan has continued his strong season with a solid second place in class at the Catlins Coast Rally, based from Balclutha, over the weekend.
Sheehan came to the event looking forward to contesting the closest thing to a home rally for him and got faster and faster as the day went on, recording the 27th fastest time on stage one before stepping up to 17th fastest in stage three, despite the flat out roads not suiting the Truck Moves Ford Fiesta R2, which spent plenty of time on the rev limiter across the day. The hard charging saw Sheehan and co-driver Janey Blair under the class record time on several stages.
After driving to secure a second in class B for 1301-1600cc two-wheel drive cars and the handy points for the Mainland Series that went with it, Sheehan came home 21st overall, second in class and importantly extending his lead in Class B for the Mainland Series.
“I’m rapt with the step up in performance year on year in my driving and to beat a couple of stage records was pretty cool,” says Sheehan, who did his first rally at Catlins two years ago. “A top 20 at Catlins would’ve been awesome, but at the end of the day it wasn’t worth risking the points, so we bought it home.”
Sheehan and his team now head North for this weekend’s Hyundai Goldrush Rally Coromandel, the fifth round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship. It will be an event of new experiences, with Sheehan teaming up alongside co-driver Glenn Goldring after their scheduled debut at the South Canterbury Rally was postponed with engine issues.
The Whitianga-based event will also be the first time Sheehan has competed in the North Island and he sees it as an opportunity to learn technical and twisty roads, a complete contrast to the wide-open gravel highways of last weekend’s Catlins event.
“The only goal this weekend is to get to the finish. The final two rounds of the NZRC this year really are about learning, we’ve never competed in the North Island before so it’s a case of expanding the knowledge base. We certainly won’t learn anything parked in the trees, so getting through cleanly on the technical roads will be the key.”
The Hyundai NZ Goldrush Rally Coromandel takes place on August 18, starting from Whitianga and taking teams across the Coromandel Peninsula for eight special stages totalling 114 kilometres.
Press Release by BB Media