The team went into Rally Whangarei not really knowing a lot about what to expect with the car. There were so many variables in comparison to what we were used to with the Evo 4. The team had worked hard to get the car as reliable as they could going into the first round. We set out in the shakedown on the opening night, and we were doing very well at fifth overall, but on the next day of the rally the settings we had were totally opposite to the conditions we had to face.
We started to get around those on the Sunday – the last day of the rally, and we started to increase pace to where we were a little happier. Then the car started to pump oil out of the engine, so it got to the point where we had to retire from the rally.
We brought the car back to the workshop and decided not to go to the Otago and Canterbury rallies because we needed to get things right again, and as it is a developing year for us. That’s why we haven’t been in the public eye as much. We need to develop the car.
We have a lot of brand, financial and corporate partners, we need to think of and stay focussed on the goal – which is to be NZ Champions in the next three years. The team have been working really hard since Rally Whangarei to iron out the niggles and to make sure that we have everything covered.
We want to say thank you to everyone who are supporting the team, as without all the support, there wouldn’t be anything. I would also personally like to thank the team for all their hard work behind the scenes. Watch this space as we are proposing to come out at the Gisborne Rally with a lot more reliability. That’s where we are with it now – today.
Also this year, apart from getting the car right, we have been putting a team structure in place. Our team has to double in size for us to be where we want to be over the next three years. We are working really hard to put structures in place and have the right people in the right areas. Everyone is a volunteer so it’s hard to work around everyone’s jobs, families, and other commitments, so that’s a challenge in itself. We have five guys that work on the car, a service park manager, and our management team that works closely with me to do the marketing side as well as trying to find funds.
We are trying to grow the team financially to be more competitive, and to help make it easier for the guys who are working on the car when the money is there to get the right tools, parts and things. We have got another van this year to allow for that. The budget had to increase, so we are working very hard to try to be able to find the needs to meet our targets so we can have a good shot at winning the championship.
The team consists of around 13 – 15 people on any one day which is quite a lot. We have got long term members in Auckland, Wellington and Hamilton, and our photographer is based in Tauranga that does all of our media shots and all of that type of work. It all takes time and energy putting it together. We have been able to obtain our own test road in Tinopai, Northland. It has been a real blessing having somewhere to test the car – it has been vital. We are making a lot of use of that this season.
It’s starting to all come together, but not without its teething problems. A big thank you goes out to the following supporters:
Puma, one of our brand partners, for supplying all of our uniforms and making sure we all look smart. We all try to wear their brand with pride, and represent them highly.
McFall Fuel have committed to the team for three years. Sheryl and her team have supported us for a long time and continue to do so.
Fuchs Lubricants, another brand partner, have been with us for three years now.
Dunlop, another brand partner, have been with us for four years.
Mofas is our longest supporting sponsor, as they have been with me personally since I started rallying.
Without RCK Group as a financial partner, we wouldn’t be here.
We also need to thank our corporate partners that are coming on board – Carters, UDC Finance, Scottish Pacific Finance and Wurth NZ.
We are very appreciative and grateful for all these organisations that are helping us with our goal.
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