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Westy looking forward to Hawkes Bay

Media Information July 25, 2005

Westy looking forward to Hawkes Bay

Defending national rally champion Chris West is looking forward to Saturday's Hawkes Bay Rally, the penultimate round in the national championship.

With co-driver Garry Cowan, Westy is starting the event just three points in front of Richard Mason, with another 21 points back to Mark Tapper.

A recent test session has buoyed Westy's confidence ahead of the crucial event in the series.

"We struggled at Rotorua last month," said Westy. "We analysed what the car was doing and have come up with some changes to the set up. It's definitely going faster now."

Westy believes Hawkes Bay will be the sprint event of the season, with just seven stages and less than 150 kms of competition.

"It'll all be on from the first stage. With everybody desperate for a win you can't afford to sit back and pace yourself."

And the winner will get 64 points for one short day of rallying. Until now the point's system has given winners of each one day heat at the earlier rounds just 32 points.

At Hawkes Bay and the final round at Nelson in September, second place is worth 54 points, while at earlier rounds it was only 27!

"The point's relativity between all events doesn't seem quite right, but that's what we've got and it's the same for everyone," said Westy.
"Finishing Hawkes Bay is absolutely critical for everybody's championship chances. I believe we've got to have a first and second place in the last two rounds to win the championship again."

"Richard and Mark need to win both rallies and Mark probably needs Richard and I to have problems and finish well down the order. But anything is possible. A puncture at Rotorua cost us five places and a lot of points."

Championship points going into Saturday's event are. -

1, Chris West (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) Auckland, 185;
2, Richard Mason (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) Masterton, 182;
3, Mark Tapper (Mitsubishi Lancer) Auckland, 161;
4, Emma Gilmour (Mitsubishi Lancer) Dunedin, 140;
5, Brett Martin (Mitsubishi Lancer) Taihape, 131;
6, Glenn Smith (Mitsubishi Lancer) Hawera, 123;
7, Sam Murray (Subaru Impreza WRX STI) Palmerston North, 119.


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