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Kaiapoi’s Marcus van Klink is expecting a big battle for the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally title that runs as part of the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa, which is also round four of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, this weekend.

Despite crashing out of the previous round, Rally Canterbury, van Klink still holds the lead in the Historic class of the NZRC by 25 points and at the wheel of the Chesters Group B Mazda RX-7, has been a dominant pace setter throughout each of the three rounds to date.

Although van Klink and co-driver Dave Neill have the upper hand in their championship battle, the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally sees van Klink up against long time friend and rival Deane Buist. The pair have swapped stage times across the previous two rounds in Otago and Canterbury and van Klink anticipates more of the same on the roads north of Masterton.

The event has offered a mixed bag to van Klink, who won the Malcolm Stewart Classic in 2012 that set up victory in both the two-round Classic Rally Challenge that encompasses the Otago and Wairarapa events, and his first NZRC classic championship. However an axle failure in 2011 and getting stuck in a ditch last year have stopped his name appearing on the trophy again.

“It should be a really good battle with Deane, I would say we will both be hard up it right the way through the day,” says van Klink. “It’s an event I certainly enjoy and I would love to get my name on that Malcolm Stewart Classic trophy again.”

The Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa gets underway on Saturday June 28, leaving the infamous Tui Brewery in Mangatainoka from 7am. Crews will tackle nine stages totalling 163.18km of special stages before finishing back at the Solway Hotel in Masterton at 5.30pm.

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