5 MINUTES WITH ...... New Zealand rally driver Deborah Kibble
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5 MINUTES WITH …… New Zealand rally driver Deborah Kibble

Deborah Kibble
Deborah Kibble pushing her Lancer Turbo hard in the 2016 Otago Classic Rally. Photo: Peter Whitten

Name: Deborah Kibble

Age: 50

Marital status: In a relationship

Children: Unfortunately, none. Rallying was priority and then time marched on.

Occupation: Operations Manager for family earthmoving company

Place of birth: Timaru, South Canterbury

Deborah Kibble (right) and co-driver Heather Johnston.

Where do you live: Waimate, South Canterbury (30 mins south of Timaru)

Does your spouse / partner like rallying? Absolutely – Mark “Smithy’ Smith is the motorsport mechanic and team manager at Magnum Motorsport for Jeff Judd.

Any other hobbies? Cycling and golf (getting back into the swing again soon)

Favourites

Food: Fresh fish, risotto, Italian, Mexican

Drink: G&T

Sports person (other than rallying): Peter Sagan (cyclist)

Film star: Hedy Lamarr (she was so much more than a movie star)

Holiday destination: Cromwell, Central Otago

Deborah Kibble jumps her Nissan Pulsar GTiR.

Starting out

How did you start out? I married into a rallying family who were very encouraging and supportive. I would not have started or continued in the sport without Jamie and the Kibble family.

First driver / co-driver you sat with: Jamie and I shared the drive in my Datsun 1200 in the 1992 Hawkes Bay Rally. It was my first time driving on gravel, and also first time co-driving, so that covers the question in one.

First event: A tarmac street sprint in Jamie’s very powerful rotary engined Nissan Sunny circuit car.

First car: Datsun 1200

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Which car club do you belong to? Autosport Club, Christchurch

Do you ever officiate on events? I have in the past and intend to do more so in the future.

Have you competed overseas? Where and when? There was an offer a few years ago to compete in Japan, but we never took up the chance. In hindsight, I wish we had committed to it.

Deborah Kibble, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.

Opinions

Favourite rally car: BMW E30 M3, but currently have the wants for a Escort Mk2 BDA.

Favourite rally driver: Hannu Mikkola and Pentti Airikkala

Favourite forest or event: Otago Classic Rally

Things you dislike about rallying? That I can’t rally every weekend

Best result: Snatching 6th from the jaws of 4th in the 2015 Otago Classic Rally

Best rally memory: Every rally with Heather Johnston by my side

Strangest incident on a rally: Bumping doors in my Evo 6 with an Italian competitor who was stopped in the Whaanga Coast stage at Rally NZ. They had no warning triangle displayed.

We ran wide at a cattle stop, but didn’t realise he was there. He came running after me aggressively at the Raglan service park assuming I was the co-driver, demanding we immediately pay for his (minimal damage), and they also put an official complaint to the FIA.

Long story short, we were called to an FIA meeting later that night to testify. They were fined many thousands of US$ for not displaying a warning triangle (which was also confirmed by many other competitors). Silly buggers.

The Otago Classic Rally is Kibble’s favourite rally. She’s pictured here in 2016. Photo: Peter Whitten

Biggest accident: 1998 Ohakune Rally, Group A Nissan Pulsar GTi-R – rolled a few times and landed upside down about 20 metres down a bank. I was trapped upside down for a decent amount of time, where the chance of fire tends to increase the anxiety levels.

If you had $250,000 to spend on rallying, what would you do? Fly to Europe and find a nicely maintained Group A E30 M3 that has both a gravel and tarmac set-up.

If you could make one rule change in New Zealand rallying, what would it be? I think we have the NZRC sorted quite nicely, for all classes. However, I do agree with David Holder with respect to adding a tarmac round to the NZRC.

Do you think the re-birth of a Trans Tasman championship would work? Depends on the number of events per country, and team budgets will always dictate who could commit.

Having Nathan Quinn and Brendon Reeves join the NZRC this season has been very exciting. It would be very interesting to see how our teams would fare on Australian soil.

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Deborah Kibble and Jamie Kibble in 2001. Photo: Geoff Ridder

Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

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