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Westy Wants Wet Weather

31/05/2004

Westy Wants Wet Weather

Chris West, the leader of the National Rally Championship wants muddy, boggy conditions when the second round is held in western Southland on Sunday.

"It'll equalize the speed the Group A cars have got and I believe we've got the tyres for the muddy conditions," said West.

The former Timaru driver who has just shifted to Auckland won the opening round of the championship in Otago in his standard production Subaru Rally Team New Zealand Impreza WRX STI.

West's confidence has been further boosted by winning the Rally Founders Trophy, awarded at Motorsport New Zealand's annual conference over the weekend for his performances last year when he won the National Group N title for a third time.

West believes tyres will be crucial to a good performance on the Invercargill based event on Sunday. He has the benefit of Pirelli rubber on the Winger Subaru car, the Italian tyres always performing well in damp conditions.

"I think we've got a good selection of tyres," said West. "We played around with them a bit at Dunedin and the set up we finished the rally with up there we're taking to Southland. The car went a lot better on the second day at Otago."

Another critical factor at Southland will be the use of most stages twice and some even three times.

"It'll be interesting to see what the stages are like in the forests when we use them two or three times," said West. "But if it's muddy and boggy I think it might play into our hands."

"I'm looking forward to it. We just have to adopt the same tactics as we had at the first round and get another good haul of points and not necessarily win."

Most of the forest stages have been used in previous years, so West knows what to expect, but the unknown factor is what conditions the roads might be in when they are used more than once and what affect the weather might have.

West goes to Invercargill with 38 points, followed by Andrew Hawkeswood on 32, Richard Mason 29, Lewis Scott 23 and Austin Jones 19.

In the standard production Group N championship West has 40 points, Mason 35 and Tom Pritchard 27, while Subaru leads the manufacturer's championship with 67 points to Mitsubishi's 59.

ENDS

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