Wairarapa event to decide 2013 NZ Rally Championship
Rally of New Zealand Ltd
Re: 2013 New Zealand Rally Championship
4 October 2013
Wairarapa event to decide 2013 New Zealand Rally Championship
This weekend’s sixth and final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship for New Zealand’s top rally drivers will be decided over Wairarapa’s gravel roads Saturday 5 October 2013.
A series that’s traversed the country, the chase for championship honours includes a tantalising three-way fight for the overall Goldstar title between Nelson’s Ben Hunt (Subaru STi), Masterton’s Richard Mason (Subaru STi) and Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9).
The trio, entered to the Super Rally by Auto Finance Direct category, are spread by nine points with nine special stages and 134km of competition to sort who will reign supreme. Come Saturday afternoon’s return to Masterton following the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa will also confirm winners across the variety of categories that carry New Zealand championship titles. The same follows for each of the driver’s respective co-drivers – the unsung heroes and directing influence behind the team’s performance.
Teams start and finish from Masterton – taking in the smooth and flowing gravel roads that adorn the Wairarapa region. While needing to finish is a priority, the season’s winners will come from those who finish first – with the 2WD R2 specification Ford Fiesta campaigners of Phil Campbell (Tauranga) and Josh Marston (Christchurch) two points apart, as an example. Similarly the top spot in the BNT Historic category is spread by seven points with Jeff Judd (Christchurch) and Deane Buist (Christchurch)
Only a couple of drivers are certain of a win – with Hunt having enough of a points lead to take the junior category and Te Aroha’s Graham Featherstone claiming the inaugural Gull Rally Challenge title in the 4WD class. Similarly, Pukekohe’s David Ralph will pick up the 2WD win in his Toyota Starlet while Christchurch’s Hamish Anderson could pilot his Toyota to scoop the open-class version of the same title.
Featherstone still has a battle on his hands in the rookie standings with the consistently performing Baddock four points adrift.
Another title for the Teams Cup is currently led by the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi team, comprising Chris West, Josh Marston and Jeff Judd. On 320 points, seven behind the leaders is Team RPM of Richard Mason, Phil Campbell and Marcus van Klink.
First car on the road will be decided from Friday night’s start order draw selection where the five fastest from the previous round, the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally ‘Power Stage,’ get to choose their road position – fastest first. Being held at the Copthorne Solway Park, first to pick will be Te Aroha’s Graham Featherstone, followed by Richard Mason, Sloan Cox (Rotorua), Ben Hunt and Richard Baddock (Christchurch).
From Masterton’s Copthorne Solway Park Resort hotel complex at 7am Saturday the teams will head in single file for the first test – the 18.79 ‘Homewood’ road stage – the southern access road to Riversdale Beach, starting at 7:45am. They then tour well north to ‘Castlehill’ – a 21.29km stage located between the coast and SH2. Continuing on to Eketahuna for a 40 minute service break the event takes in two repeated roads nearby – Mangamahoe Central at 16.37km and North Rd at 12.76km. Following a second and final 40minute service at Eketahuna the season and rally concludes with the Mangaoranga 14.70km stage, Daggs Rd at 14.21km and Te Parae at 6.86km. Teams then need to return to the Copthorne Solway Park hotel to be classified as a finisher – where the first team is due to arrive at 4:40pm.
As well as points for finishing, the championship determinate could well extend to the bonus points offered at the ‘Power Stage’ – the eighth stage ‘Daggs Road’. The fastest car in each category earns an additional five championship points and cash – diminishing to one point for fifth fastest.
News and information about the championship – including driver profiles and team news – can be found on the website www.nzrallychampionship.co.nz, or follow New Zealand Rally Championship on Facebook.