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Local driver Derek Ayson has won the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago after overnight leader, Alister McRae, retired with engine failure on the day’s fifth stage.

Driving a Nissan powered Ford Escort, Ayson and co-driver Greg Scott took victory by a comfortable margin of two minutes and 30 seconds from Australians Brad Goldsbrough and Aaron Topliff in a Datsun 1600.

Another Aussie combination, Jeff David and Grant Geelan, took third place in their Porsche 911, while Ross Dunkerton and Alan Stean were fifth in an Escort.

Overnight rain in Otago gave way to fine and windy weather for the majority of day two, with six stages to be tackled.

McRae and co-driver, Erin Kyle, looked set to take a convincing win in their Ford Escort RS1800, winning the first four stages of the day. But their BDA engine let go in a big way on SS13, leaving the Scotsman stranded.

That gave the spectacular Ayson a popular local win, ahead of a trio of Australian crews.

Another local pairing, that of Duncan McCrostie and Murray Marshall, rounded out the top five in their Nissan Bluebird Turbo.

Only 21 of the original 39 classic starters finished every stage of the event, proving that consistency and reliability were the keys to success.

Despite his disappointment, McRae loved every minute of his Otago Rally experience, and hopes to return to the event again in 2010.

Final results
Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago

1. Derek Ayson/Greg Scott, Ford Escort FJ2000, 2h37m15.7s
2. Brad Goldsbrough/Aaron Topliff, Datsun 1600, +2m31.2s
3. Jeff David/Grant Geelan, Porsche 911, +3m26.9s
4. Ross Dunkerton/Alan Stean, Ford Escort RS1800, +4m35.6s
5. Duncan McCrostie/Murray Marshall, Nissan Bluebird Turbo, +6m07.5s

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