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Mason masters first day of Rotorua action

Mason masters first day of Rotorua action

Covering the first six stages of the 2006 Hella International Rally of Rotorua, the weather played a key role in the success or otherwise of competitors in today ’s second round of the Parker ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship.

Tucked behind the international series drivers, the 28 Kiwi teams showed true class in continuing adverse weather conditions after a 6:30am departure from Rotorua.

Persistent overnight rain became the theme of the day – the first two stages held in varying wind, rain and misty conditions. The constant moisture of the past weeks has incrementally seen road conditions change along the route – with sectors of today’s stages becoming very soft, and naturally, slippery.

Totally prepared in the older Subaru Impreza, defending series champion Richard Mason (Masterton) blitzed the whole field on the opening stage to lead by 8s over second placed Sam Murray (Palmerston North) and the pursuing international drivers.

Having a ‘really good first stage’ set Mason up to extend his lead in subsequent stages, while others battled fogging and de-misting problems; punctures started to change the time sheets.

While Subaru’s dominated the top four placings, local driver Dean Sumner in his Mitsubishi Lancer EVO8 was fifth fastest in the opening stage, before having to retire from the day with again, overheating problems.

Amidst the volley of punctures, Taihape’s Brett Martin clawed back to be the leading Kiwi based Mitsubishi in 4th position – 27s ahead of the 2WD Ford Fiesta of Mark Tapper (Auckland).

The debut of the Ford has impressed many. It’s witnessed handling ability put him over 6 minutes ahead of the chasing Kiwi 2 class of cousins after the six stages.

Meanwhile, Mason was out to a whopping 1m10s lead over second chasing Kiwi Chris West (Auckland) after the 48.08km ‘Motu’ stage, the day was Mason’s. Reporting a decrease in power in the latter part of the day Mason was comfortably ahead when a strike of form by West was halted with turbo failure in the final stage Mason taking an easy 6m43 lead over second placed Sam Murray, who was followed by Todd Bawden (Waihi) a close 6s behind for third and another Subaru trifecta.

“Overall though it felt really good, but we were not quite good enough to get back the overall lead (after Australian Cody Crocker finished the day 13s ahead). He has a car that is five years more modern than ours and factory tyres. Our turbo is still not great but overall it was a pretty strong day,” said Mason.

Emma Gilmour (Dunedin) made a strong start to be the fifth Subaru Impreza in the top-5 after the second stage, but it was successive punctures in the kilometres that followed that let off-shore visitors claim her placing. She eventually finished in 10th after three punctures over rock strewn stages.

Off to a cracking start, Dave Strong (Auckland) in the Honda Civic headed the Kiwi 2 category, with Kayne Barrie in the Nissan Sunny putting in a consistent result to overtake Strong’s lead when he stopped mid-way through the day.

Aaron Cook (Wellington) in the Honda Jazz and James Holder (Auckland) in the Toyota Trueno stepped up for the remaining podium positions, while Jason West (Dunedin) had ‘Agnis’ the Suzuki Ignis tip on its side in the fifth stage.

“I am stoked about breaking Dave Strong's stage record today said Kayne Barrie after he knocked nearly 30s off the 2005 mark set in Whakarau (SS4).

“We had no problems and had heaps of fun – although it was very slippery.

The remainder of the field was spread thinly; points gained through attrition than competition.

Nick Marshall (Auckland) in the impressive sounding Peugeot 106 was again an early retiree, making it through the second stage before having to park up for the day.

Despite the weather the stages all ran to time, with 21 of the cars en-route for the overnight park at Rotorua. Other retirements for the day include Auckland’s Dylan Turner (Lancer EVO9) – stuck off road, Hawke’s Bay’s Patrick Malley (EVO7)– off road and Auckland’s Andrew Keighly (Honda CRX) who also left the road.

Sunday’s second and final leg of the rally covers a repeated three-stage loop to the north east of Rotorua– with the cars returning for a ceremonial finish at 3:30pm at the lakefront Village Green.
With clearing weather conditions forecast, the crews start with a clean sheet– today’s time result becomes a point’s earned standing.


rain, (n) precipitation in liquid form. It consists of drops of water falling from clouds; if the drops are very small, they are collectively termed drizzle.

– Columbia Encyclopaedia.

Results - Parker ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship
Hella International Rally of Rotorua - leg 1 Saturday 27th May 2006 (provisional)

Pos. No. Driver/Co-Driver Vehicle Cls Stage
Times Penalty Total
Time Tbl Tbn
1 11 Richard Mason/Sara Randall Subaru Impreza N4 2:08:44.6 - 2:08:44.6 **** ****
2 12 Sam Murray/Rob Ryan Subaru Impreza STi N4 2:15:27.7 - 2:15:27.7 +6:43.1 +6:43.1
3 14 Todd Bawden/Damon McLachlan Subaru Impreza N4 2:15:33.8 0:30 2:16:03.8 +7:19.2 +0:36.1
4 19 Brett Martin/Raymond Bennett Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 N4 2:18:35.8 - 2:18:35.8 +9:51.2 +2:32.0
5 9 Mark Tapper/Jeff Cress Ford Fiesta ST N3 2:19:03.0 - 2:19:03.0 +10:18.4 +0:27.2
6 24 Stewart Taylor/Warwick Searle Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 N4 2:19:11.6 - 2:19:11.6 +10:27.0 +0:08.6
7 17 Glenn Smith/Colin Smith Subaru Impreza STi N4 2:20:10.1 - 2:20:10.1 +11:25.5 +0:58.5
8 25 Grant Barber/Bede O'Connor Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 N4 2:22:26.8 - 2:22:26.8 +13:42.2 +2:16.7
9 23 Lee-Anne Barns/Erin Kyle Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 N4 2:22:34.4 - 2:22:34.4 +13:49.8 +0:07.6
10 16 Emma Gilmour/Chris Cobham Subaru Impreza WRX N4 2:23:22.9 0:20 2:23:42.9 +14:58.3 +1:08.5
11 6 Dermott Malley/Linzi Malley Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 N4 2:24:21.3 - 2:24:21.3 +15:36.7 +0:38.4
12 27 Carl Adnitt/Aaron Conaghan Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7 N4 2:24:40.8 - 2:24:40.8 +15:56.2 +0:19.5
13 42 Kayne Barrie/Peter Leith Nissan Sunny GTi K2 2:24:59.9 - 2:24:59.9 +16:15.3 +0:19.1
14 43 Aaron Cook/Stratton Campbell Honda Jazz Type R K2 2:25:53.9 - 2:25:53.9 +17:09.3 +0:54.0
15 22 Brent Taylor/Chris Ramsay Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6 N4 2:27:00.9 - 2:27:00.9 +18:16.3 +1:07.0
16 44 James Holder/Richard Ellis Toyota Trueno K2 2:29:31.7 - 2:29:31.7 +20:47.1 +2:30.8
17 49 Reg Cook/Tony Mattson Nissan Pulsar K2 2:31:38.8 - 2:31:38.8 +22:54.2 +2:07.1
18 47 Glenn Inkster/Glenn Goldring Honda Integra K2 2:33:45.3 - 2:33:45.3 +25:00.7 +2:06.5
19 29 Trevor Taylor/Jason Timmins Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 N4 2:39:33.9 - 2:39:33.9 +30:49.3 +5:48.6
20 45 Jason West/Charmaine Helm Suzuki Ignis K2 3:03:32.1 2:40 3:06:12.1 +57:27.5 +26:38.2
21 50 Nathan Thomas/Brian Rowe Suzuki Ignis K2 3:06:44.9 2:40 3:09:24.9 +1:00:40.3 +3:12.8

10 Chris West/Garry Cowan Subaru Impreza w/d
18 Dean Sumner/Paul Fallon Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 w/d
20 Dylan Turner/Sandy Bansal Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 w/d
28 Patrick Malley/Hayden Middleton Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 7 w/d
41 Dave Strong/Bruce McKenzie Honda Civic Type R w/d
46 Andrew Keighley/Jonathon Kane Honda CRX w/d
48 Nick Marshall/Geoff McOnie Peugeot 106 w/d

Fast facts about the event:

• Runs in conjunction with the Asia Pacific Rally Championship (3rd round).
• 28 (of the 29 registered) championship cars will run at the event.
• A two-day rally (Saturday/Sunday).
• Hawke

• ’s Bay driver Dermott Malley starts as the first NZRC car due to being entered in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship class.
• Mark Tapper will debut the Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy car (2 wheel drive).
• Chris West leads the main NZRC field, which starts behind the APRC group of cars.
• Defending champion Richard Mason starts behind West due to finishing second (0.2s) at the first round.
• The rally starts at 6:30am Saturday and the cars return to Rotorua from 8:30pm that night.
• They cover six special stages, including the 48.08km Motu stage

• – one of the longest championship rally stages in the world and made famous by Colin McRae when he won it consecutively for three years when it was part of the WRC.
• Sunday starts at 6:30am and finishes with a ceremonial presentation at the Rotorua Lakefront Reserve from 3:30pm.
• The day features three stages repeated twice.
• The twelve competitive specials stages total 275.60km for a weekend distance of 912.35km.
• Television coverage of the event will be aired on 25th June (TV One 5-6pm).
Photo images to follow:

Parker ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship - calendar
1 5-7 May: Rally of Otago
2 26-28 May: Rally of Rotorua
3 30 June 2 July: Rally Whangarei
4 28-30 July: Rally of Hawke

’s Bay
5 25-27 August: Rally of Wairarapa
6 22-24 Sept: Rally of Nelson

For further information, including championship points:


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