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New Zealand’s Classic Rally of Otago, to be conducted from April 13-15, will be the next Snooks Motorsport adventure, with both the team’s Nissan Stanzas being shipped to the south island of New Zealand for the event.

Stanza #1 will be crewed by Darryn Snooks and David Johns, whilst the crew for the Stanza #2 has yet to be determined.

Conducted by the Dunedin Sports Car Club, the rally will be held over two days, covering 13 special stages totalling some 240 kilometres, all run during daylight. Except for the tarmac Super Special Stage in central Dunedin, the competition will be over gravel surfaced public and forestry roads.

The Stanzas will participate in the “Classic Rally of Otago”, which is one of three components comprising the event.

This component is for two-wheel drive cars built up to 1982 running with the same freedoms of past years, with an extension in 2007  with cars built from 1982 to 1987 running with more restrictions on modifications.

“I have some unfinished business with the Otago Rally,” team leader Darryn Snooks said when announcing the team was preparing to cross the Tasman for the event. “I competed in 2005 with brother Steuart and this gave me a taste for it. The roads were amazing, although quite fast, but they flowed really well.”

“We were unfortunate in that the Ford Escort RS2000 we hired for the competition detonated the engine, and it stopped in the middle of a creek. I am definitely hungry for more rallying like I experienced.”

In all some 100 competitors are expected this year, up from the 80 who participated in 2006.

“Now that we have the Stanzas sorted out we are keen to tackle the Ford Escorts, which have featured well in the event. So well in fact that this marque has won every Otago Rally since its inception in 1997, except for 2000 when a Triumph TR7 took top honours. The RS1800 has been the top dog for eight of the 10 events conducted to date,” Snooks added.

Servicing will be of a high standard with Justyn Snooks and his team of five mechanics flying to New Zealand. Amongst them will be Les Collins, of Datrally fame, who prepared the Datsuns which were so successfully rallied by Geoff Portman in the seventies and eighties.

In recent years the Otago Rally has attracted former World Rally Champions Juha Kankkunen and Hannu Mikkola from Finland, and Bjorn Waldegard from Sweden.

Finland’s Pasi Hagstrom won in an RS1800 in 2004, was pipped by Scotland’s Jimmy McRae in 2005, and then Hagstrom took back the winner’s laurels in 2006, when McRae rolled his RS into retirement.

A number of Australians are planning to compete in the event. These include Peter Riseborough, who will enter the ex-Snooks Motorsport Sunny which is now in New Zealand; Peter Whitten will drive a NZ based BDG-powered Ford Escort; and Michael Boaden will campaign a Ford Escort RS2000 with a Pinto motor.
Making the trip to New Zealand is only possible thanks to the team’s sponsors:

➢    Russell Stuckey and Dunlop
➢    Wireworx
➢    Trilogy Financial Group
➢    Pro Home Loans

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