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Three years out of the seat has only made twenty year old Stephen Barker keener to take advantage of his opportunity to compete in the 2009 Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship.

Barker contested Rally New Zealand’s Rising Stars Scholarship Shootout, the winner receiving a drive in a Ford Fiesta for the New Zealand Rally Championship. He was a leading contender for the prize but narrowly missed out after making the hotly contested final four.

Not one to give up, Barker was then offered the opportunity to use the ex-Kingsley Thompson Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IV, a car eligible for the new for 2009 Open Four-Wheel Drive catergory of the New Zealand Rally Championship.

Sitting beside Barker for the season will be fellow Hamiltionian Brett Lightfoot. Lightfoot is an experienced driver in his own right, campaigning a Mazda RX-7 before becoming a tutor at Rally Drive NZ’s rally school, and is sure to keep Barker on the straight and narrow.

For Barker, the opportunity to contest the NZRC is one he is looking forward to, however three years ‘out of the saddle’ and a tight budget means he and Lightfoot will have to ease their way into a steady and controlled pace.

The 2009 season has been made possible for Barker by his sponsors Fujitsu Heat Pumps, supplied and installed by ACR Bay of Islands, Wynns and Classic Cover Insurance.

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