9th October 2017, 02:46
Rally Waitomo, the penultimate round is on this coming weekend.
81 cars entered, with 43 cars in NZRC classes, which is a really strong number for a country of less than 5 million! This rally is new to the championship, and has no repeat stages (which is unusual these days!). It also includes two stages over 40km long. So going to be a good test of endurance.
Some interesting things to note when looking through the entries:
Reigning national champion David Holder will start in a Holden Barina AP4 (normally driven by Greg Murphy, who has other commitments), so Holder in a Holden. He won the championship in an ex-Paddon Evo last year and doesn't currently have a car of his own. He completed the last round at Coromandel in a borrowed old GC8 Subaru, coming home in 7th overall, so will be interesting to see what he can get out of the Barina AP4 given his clear talent behind the wheel.
Max Bayley is debuting the first R5 car in the NZRC - a Ford Fiesta R5. I don't know anything about the car, whether it is an evolution model or anything, although I think from memory Neil Allport is running the car. Max has also not competed in the NZRC for a while (not since Canterbury last year), so I imagine it will take a little while to get used to the car and upto speed. He has previously competed in a Fiesta R2 in NZRC.
Dylan Turner is back in the very cool Audi S1 AP4, which missed the last round as he was off doing some promo work with Audi on snow...
Job Quantock (who drove Paddons Hyundai AP4 at Canterbury) has bought the Skoda AP4 off Glenn Inkster and will debut that. He is however seeded down in 14th, due to some mixed results so far this year.
Further back down the field a random observation, Jeff Ward, who previously campaigned a mostly carbon fibre and fibreglass Hillman Hunter with a V8 and a sequential gearbox had a rather big accident at Rally Coromandel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2WSZ...&feature=share So will now compete in his Subaru Legacy RS, which runs later model Subaru drivetrain, so could prove to be quite competitive and with a very favourable road position due to his struggle to finish rallies in the Hillman this year. So although I doubt he will trouble the top ten, he could go quite well given his seeding.
And finally, I have to mention Adam Bligh in an Evo 8. He finished 5th outright in Coromandel, having previously campaigned a somewhat tired Evo 6 in earlier rounds, he has recently stepped up to the Evo 8 and been setting extremely competitive times, with limited testing and budget. So although I don't think he will trouble for the win, he will most likely do quite well once again if everything holds together...
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