Rally duo aiming for best performance at NZRC finale
It's been a while but rallying racers Andy Gillies and Nathan Pilcher are back in action this weekend for the final round of the Brian Green Property New Zealand Rally Championship - the Rally Waitomo.
The pair have undertaken an on-going development and refinement programme during the season for their ex-Chris Paddon Commercial Hire NZ Toyota Levin and currently lead Category 5B in the points chase in the 2019 New Zealand Rally Championship.
This event is the sixth and final round of the NZ Rally Championship. It's gravel-focussed, begins in Pio Pio and goes as far south as the King Country region and before heading back to Pio Pio and then north east to Otorohanga and Waitomo before concluding in Hamilton. It includes around 200km of the best gravel rally stages in the country.
It's set to be another new and challenging experience for the pair - who only had one event together before this season. Co-driver Pilcher is conscious that the gap between rounds feels a lot longer than three months.
"The seat seems strangle unfamiliar but at the same time it’s like riding a bike," laughed Pilcher. "Once you get back into it, it feels like you never left. Both Andy and myself are taking a very casual approach to this last rally trying to keep cool, calm and collected as what will be will be when it comes to the results. Given the way the points are at the moment it’s pretty much a given that if you don’t finish then you're out of the running for a good championship placing so the stakes are reasonably from that point of view. Despite that we do need to keep in perspective the limited budget we have and that we are very proud of what we have accomplished in our class."
The big gap between rounds hasn't kept the duo away from motorsport however. Far from it. "We have both been up and down the country looking after different cars," said Pilcher. "We were both on different cars for the recent Supercars event at Pukekohe and then working together at the Highlands Endurance meeting two weeks ago. It's been a long break but a much -needed one as well. Andy has also spent a lot of time on the car making sure it’s in the best possible shape leading into the final round of the NZRC."
Despite busy schedules, they have managed to make a few further refinements to their car. "I have been working hard on the car over the last couple of months doing some maintenance based work but also some performance upgrades too," added Gillies.
"Logan Davis from Davis Auto Electrical in Queenstown has helped us with a new loom. There has been a bunch of other changes too but I don’t want to give away all our secrets. Well known race engine builder and tuner Dwight Scott from Scottspeed Engines did a few long hours over the recent days to get everything into top shape and we go into the final with everything tuned to the max. It should be a lot of fun."
Gillies and Pilcher's Commercial Hire NZ Toyota Levin is also supported by ENZED, Total Lubricants, Wurth NZ, Wet&Forget, MG Minerals, Superfinishing NZ, Arrowtown Bakery, Base Contracting, Brian Scott Motors and Prestige Commercial Vehicles.
2019 New Zealand Rally Championship
1 13-14 Apr 2019 -
Rally of Otago
2 4-5 May 2019 - Rally of Whangarei
3 2 Jun 2019 - Canterbury Rally
4 22 Jun 2019 - South Canterbury Rally
5 17 Aug 2019 - Rally Coromandel
6 19 Oct 2019 - Rally Waitomo