Sumner controls Hawke’s Bay Rally, Mason wraps up title
20 August 2011
Sumner controls Hawke’s Bay Rally, Mason wraps up title.
Outgoing New Zealand Rally Champion Dean Sumner has taken control of the opening day of the Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawke’s Bay with the Mitsubishi driver 15.2 seconds ahead of Richard Mason in a Subaru.
The two-day 20–21 August event over gravel roads in the Hawke’s Bay is the final of five rounds in the 2011 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) that started in Dunedin mid-April.
Driving the ITM Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9, Sumner and co-driver Paul Fallon won the last four of today’s six stages contested south of Napier, to edge clear of his championship rivals in the chase for event honours.
Second at the overnight halt back in Napier has brought a dream result for the Masterton based Mason husband and wife pairing. They accumulated enough championship points from their day’s placing in the BNT Subaru to secure their third New Zealand title. With a current margin of 53 points over Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon who isn’t competing, Mason needed to score enough from the day to stave off any challenge from current third placed sitter Emma Gilmour from Dunedin. Gilmour finished third for the day, having won the morning’s second stage in the Vantage Subaru. Gilmour trails Sumner by 28.3 seconds after today’s action. Rotorua’s Sloan Cox holds fourth with Kerikeri’s Kingsley Thompson in fifth and Feilding’s Geof Argyle sixth.
“It’s been a good day – for sure. We’ve been head down and just going for it even though we’ve had brake problems again believe it or not. We broke a calliper and used over a litre of brake fluid in the last three stages so in the straights I was having to keep pumping the pedal to get any braking at the end. Besides that the car has been going well,” said Sumner.
“We thought about backing off in the final stage to let Richard and Emma go past so we’d keep our road position for tomorrow. Maybe Richard and Emma have been playing tactics today – because the times are very close. But we decided to go for it in the end and to be fair I think the stages today suited the Mitsubishi more. I think tomorrow will be a lot more challenging – I don’t think the stage wins will come as easily.”
Today’s more favourable weather conditions compared to the cold and wet that has lashed the east coast region in the past week wasn’t enough to stop organisers from having to drop two of the day’s tests. A revised timetable incorporated a repeat of ‘Old hill’ and ‘Hiranui’ road sections to keep the competitive distance close to original with the conditions reported as surprisingly good.
“The roads have been in really good condition and not heavily gravelled even though we were third car on the road,” added Sumner.
In 14th position, Kaipoi’s Marcus van Klink was fastest two-wheel-drive in the historic challenge category Mazda RX7. Battling with Nelson’s Ben Hunt in the modern category Ford Fiesta ST, van Klink pipped Hunt in the day’s final stage to hold a 7 second advantage.
Sunday’s remaining seven stages turn the teams north, departing Napier at 7:05am. Using well known and traditional rally roads in and around the Mohaka and Esk Forest areas the cars will cover 135 kilometres of competitive gravel with the final 22.07km stage set to start at 2:22pm. The teams then return to Napier’s Clive Square for the ceremonial finish from 4:15pm.
including results and news, are on the NZRC website –
www.nzrallychampionship.co.nz – and fans can also find out
more information about any of the events on the New Zealand
Rally Championship Facebook page.
Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawke’s Bay overall after day
one – top-ten (provisional)
Pos, No, Driver/Co-Driver, Town, Vehicle, Time
1, 4, Dean Sumner/Paul Fallon, Rotorua, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, 40:21.2
2, 1, Richard Mason/Sara Mason, Masterton, Subaru STI, +15.2
3, 3, Emma Gilmour/Glenn Macneall, Dunedin, Subaru STI, +28.3
4, 6, Sloan Cox/Tarryn Cox, Rotorua, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, +50.8
5, 5, Kingsley Thompson/Aaron Conaghan, Kerikeri, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, +54.0
6, 26, Geof Argyle/Joelle Eyre, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO VIII, +1:23.2
7, 25, Stewart Taylor/Warwick Searle, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X, +1:25.7
8, 8, Ben Jagger/Ben Hawkins, Whangarei, Subaru STI, +1:29.9
9, 7, Glenn Inkster/Glenn Goldring, Auckland, Mitsubishi Lancer EVO IX, +2:03.6
10, 10, Matt Jansen/Jason Farmer, Christchurch, Subaru STI, +2:14.1
Gold Star overall New Zealand
Rally Championship – top three provisional points after
day one Rally Hawke’s Bay
1, Richard Mason, Masterton, 437
2, Hayden Paddon, Geraldine, 384
3, Emma Gilmour, Dunedin, 345
2011 New Zealand Rally
Round 1 – DriveSouth Rally of Otago – 8 to 10 April
Round 2 – Rally New Zealand ‘High Octane at Hampton’ – 7 to 8 May
Round 3 – Rally Wairarapa – 28 to 29 May
Round 4 – International Rally of Whangarei – 15 to 17 July
Round 5 – Rally Hawke’s Bay – 20 to 21 August