Tauranga’s Phil Campbell has endured a tough final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother, to secure second place in the Group N two-wheel drive championship.
Campbell and co-driver Venita Fabbro came into the event off the back of a successful test and having secured strong results at Rally Gisborne in the past, however a clutch failure on the opening stage left Campbell on the back foot right from the start.
Despite that, Campbell consistently kept the Letts Construction Ford Fiesta in touch with his similarly mounted rivals with a series of second and third fastest times across the opening three stages that also put the 25-year old in ninth place overall, less than two seconds behind eventual rally winner Brian Green.
Unfortunately on the fourth stage, a broken wheel bearing only three of thirty-nine kilometres into the stage saw the wheel come off and although any major damage was avoided, thoughts of continuing were impossible.
“Unfortunately it was over before it really began,” said Campbell on reflection. “All things considered we did fairly well in the morning and once we had the wheel bearing problem there was not a lot of point in rejoining.”
Despite the retirement and missing the previous round, Campbell wrapped up second overall in the Group N two-wheel drive title chase to go with his third place last season and fourth the season before.
The Campbell Rally Sport team now focus their attention on building a new car for the 2013 NZRC.