The Matt Summerfield Rallisport team have defied the odds to maintain second place in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ after the second round, Rally Otago, over the weekend.
An engine failure in the lead up to the event left New Zealand’s fastest brother and sister, Matt and Nicole Summerfield, completing recce unsure if they would have a car to compete in the two-day event. But with a lot of hard work, the team got the car to the start line, albeit with an older engine.
A steady start saw two top ten stage times, but on the 50 kilometre stage three, a broken half shaft cost some two minutes. The afternoon’s stages saw an increase in speed, peaking with fourth fastest on the final gravel stage, but a broken gear lever on the tarmac super special stage that rounded out the day meant Summerfield could only secure ninth place at the end of day one.
Day two by contrast started well with two bonus points for fourth fastest on the power stage and along with two second fastest stage times in the Castrol Edge Subaru, was enough to secure third place for leg two, moving Summerfield into sixth place for the overall event.
The points scored at Otago are enough to keep the Summerfields in second place in the NZRC as they head to their home round of the championship, Rally Canterbury, on June 1.
“This one really is for the whole team, they worked their butts off just to get the car to the start line, then again to get us to the finish. I can’t thank them enough,” said Matt. “The fact we were able to hold second place in the championship is awesome, hopefully we can keep it up at Canterbury.”
As an added bonus, the team were also able to raise more than $1500 in a post-event charity auction for their adopted charity, Cystic Fibrosis New Zealand. Combined with the raffle the team ran at Rally Whangarei, they have now raised in excess of $2100 for the foundation.
Matt Summerfield Rallisport would like to acknowledge their sponsors, without whom their 2014 campaign would not be possible: Castrol Edge, Autotech Services, NAC Insurance, North Canterbury Energy Centre, The Gearbox Company, Chatterton Builders, Gull Fuels, Liquorland, Ashby Engineering, I C Frith and No Limit Construction.
Press Release by BB Media