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McInnes Already Looking Ahead To Next Season

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McInnes Already Looking Ahead To Next Season

The final round of the 2008 New Zealand Rally Championship is important for a number of reasons. It marks the official crowning of a new champion in young gun Hayden Paddon, and the ‘last hurrah’ for those looking to salvage a top result before recessing into an eight month off-season.

For Tauranga’s Callum McInnes and co-driver David Calder, 2008 has been a rocky year at the best of times. In his second season in the Group N championship, 32-year old McInnes has battled vehicle, road and ambient conditions on his way to seventh position in the points standings heading into the Boxman Rally of Nelson this weekend.

The tough single-day rally is an important one in the race to beat fellow Subaru pilot Emma Gilmour to a top six series finish, yet both McInnes and the Milkbar Rally Team are already firmly focussed on a bigger and better 2009.

“While it may not look that spectacular on paper, we’ve had a pretty good year,” McInnes said.

“We’ve learnt a lot and despite not achieving all of our goals there are plenty of positives to be happy about. Our general pace has been consistent, the team has worked really well as a unit and all this has being achieved while I’m still very much coming to grips with the car and the roads beneath it.”

More changes are afoot for the Milkbar Subaru Impreza ahead of Rally Nelson, with a full suspension revalving and upgrade direct from the manufacturer giving McInnes and the team another important puzzle piece to utilise during the rally. While the targets are an on-form Emma Gilmour and a maiden leg podium, the big picture is just as important and McInnes realises that to gain a little, he may also have to give a little this weekend.

“We’ll have a play with the new suspension components and see what we come up with, and obviously we will be pushing 110% throughout to pick up a position or two in the points, but 2009 is my main focus. To leave Nelson with confidence in the car should do wonders for both the off-season and what we all hope to be a big year ahead.”

With Rally Nelson being a single-day event (due to the surrounding logging roads being in use on Saturdays) the approach taken by each driver swings in a more aggressive direction. The round is still worth a full bag of points, and car conservation becomes a little less critical with only the single leg to battle through. This should suit McInnes well with setup tweaks best assessed when under full load and maximum pace.

“It should be great fun and we’ll certainly make the most of it with the next event not until April next year!” McInnes commented.

The tradition pre-event reconnaissance will take place this Saturday for drivers, co-drivers and their vehicles, with the Boxman Rally of Nelson commencing on Sunday morning.


2008 NEW ZEALAND RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP - Points after Round Four of Six
Pos Driver Co-Driver Car Make Points
1 Hayden Paddon John Kennard Mitsubishi Evo 9 252
2 Richard Mason Sara Mason Subaru Impreza 196
3 Chris West Garry Cowan Mitsubishi Evo 9 191
4 Stewart Taylor Warwick Searle Mitsubishi Evo 9 186
5 Brett Martin Grant Marra Mitsubishi Evo 9 152
6 Emma Gilmour Jeff Judd Subaru Impreza 122
7 Callum McInnes David Calder Subaru Impreza 120
8 Sloan Cox Tarryn Cox Mitsubishi Evo 8 105
9 Andre Meier Jason Farmer Subaru Impreza 103
10 Dean Sumner Paul Fallon Mitsubishi Evo 9 98

2008 New Zealand Rally Championship Calendar
Round One April 12-13, 2008 – Rally Wairarapa
Round Two May 10-11, 2008 – Rally Otago
Round Three June 07-08, 2008 – Rally Whangarei
Round Four July 26-27, 2008 – Rally Hawkes Bay
Round Five August 28-31, 2008 – Rally New Zealand
Round Six September 20-21, 2008 – Rally Nelson

Callum McInnes and David Calder are proudly supported by Milkbar Calf Rearing Systems - “Healthy Calves, Healthy Profit.”

© Scoop Media

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