It is a privilege to have teamed up with Hayden Paddon for the NZRC 2018 season – I was given the job of naming the Paddon/Williamson team and felt that The Tortoise and the Hare would be an apt name to go with. This team name proved to be very relevant in the Kuri Bush special stage. Hayden and John had the fastest time and we had the slowest due to a 15 minute wheel change caused by a rim shearing off and us coming to rest in a swamp where car jacks just don’t perform!
On rolling out our Subaru Impreza R4 for the first time we knew it wasn’t going to be easy – the Otago Rally is extremely fast and requires commitment over the crests and we were pretty nervous not having any car seat time under our belts. The Subaru was like a bucking horse on the Saturday. While launching off the start line was brilliant, trying to tame the beast on stage was a big job; the anti-lag setup was a bit too aggressive for us at this stage. Our times on Saturday were certainly a bit slow, as expected, but the idea was to take a measured approach and try and ‘tortoise’ it to the end of the rally! In addition to losing 15 minutes in Kuri Bush, we encountered some battery failure issues on the Super Stage and ended up having to push the car in front of the Dunedin crowd, incurring a three minute penalty. What a side show!
Turning down the anti-lag definitely assisted on the Sunday and we were starting to show the car who was boss on the uphill sections. Downhill was a different story (definitely scary) and we tended to lift off the gas, with our stage times suffering.
Big thanks to Glenn, Brenda and Stephen for putting in very long hours to ensure the car and service truck were ready for the rally. These days I am away from my home base most of the time working on other teams’ race cars which meant the Subaru prep had to be delegated out. Great job! The team packed so many spare parts for the car but inadvertently left the replacement fuel pump at home. You can be sure if you leave one part at home… that is the very one you need! Big THANKS to Ben Hunt for lending us his spare pump until a new replacement arrived by urgent courier.
We are very lucky to be running with exactly the same service crew as last year and while they have a completely different car to deal with, they work so well together and put in so much effort. THANKS Glenn, Steve, Neal and Mary. Big haul down to Dunedin from Raglan and Steve/Neal shared the driving both ways – much appreciated. Thanks to Brenda (Mother) for co-driving and helping to keep the car on the road.
We couldn’t be happier with the car – it’s such a step up for us and has so much potential. With such a slick looking car, might just need to get a haircut soon!
Thanks to Hayden for his ongoing support and to our sponsors Handy Rentals Hamilton and Williamson Design and Engineering.
Another great rally – hats off to Norman Oakley and his team! Next stop Whangarei ……Nice