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Eighteen year old New Zealand driver, Daniel Harris, experienced both the sport's big highs and lows at the International Rally of Whangarei last weekend.

Harris was leading his class by 16 seconds after five competitive special stages. Having won three stages outright in the Group N 2WD class, Harris was setting a cracking pace and showing he had found his feet behind the wheel of the leased 2WD House of Knives Ford Fiesta ST.

Showing that long stages are a strong point once again, Harris took 17 seconds out of class rivals Patrick Malley and Ben Jagger over the 33.37 km test and 15 seconds out of Rising Stars Scholarship winner, Ben Hunt. Unbelievably, he was also hot at the heels of 4WD competitors.

"We had a good stage. I didn’t expect to gain that much that’s for sure, as I was driving comfortably not flat out," he said.

"I do enjoy the longer stages and I am definitely finding a really good rhythm. I have come a long way with my driving of these cars from round one! Leading the class was what we wanted. However the next part had me speechless."

Having his first crash or even dent since his competitive rallying history began at the age of 14, this rally will be one that will be remembered.

"We came into the corner in fifth gear at about 140km, which was way too quick... We barrel rolled over a fence and along a steep hill in a paddock. The cause?... Well, basically it wasn’t what we thought! Just one of those things, a slight moment of confusion. No one to blame, these things happen.  The main thing is both Darryn and I are ok now, we have a few knocks and bruises but I am still amazed how we walked away with just that. Being trapped in the car however was the real scary part. "

Harris and co-driver Darryn Green were trapped in the House of Knives Ford Fiesta as it very tentatively lay on its side on the side of the hill. The door was jammed and electrics were dead. The way out for the two? Green had to smash the windscreen with his foot. Spectators are still amazed the car didn’t lose balance with the pair in it and roll further, which could have been fatal.

"Darryn undid his belts and fell on me! With no assistance about and no one stopping, we had to get out, mainly because the car was not steady and with no belts on we didn’t want to roll further! But also in the case of a fire. "

"I wish to thank those spectators who ended up running from further down the road and others who assisted us when we really needed it. It was very much appreciated! It was a huge relief to hear help on the way!"

Where to from here for Harris and Green? Repairing the car is the priority. From there the team will exhaust all avenues to get Daniel behind the wheel again as soon as possible, hopefully at Wairarapa.

"This is going to be a huge effort. I mean huge! We have a very small budget and this is going to be a big expedition. However, we are a team and we are all going to get out there and work as hard as we can. The team and supporters believe in me and we have worked incredibly hard to get to step up this year, we need to finish it off."

Keep an eye out on an exciting Harris Rallysport fundraising event that is set to take place in a couple of week’s time to assist in Daniel getting his promising career back on track.

Harris Rallysport have just launched their new website thank-you to Shane and Freeparking.co.nz and Jacinda!

Check it out at www.HARRISRALLYSPORT.co.nz!

The team wish to thank their loyal sponsors who believe in their potential: The House of Knives, Hall Engineering Ltd, Total Oils, Victory Automotive, Freeparking.co.nz, Novus Auto Glass, Richmond Panelbeating Service, MS Ford Nelson, Designart Nelson, Seabed Mapping and Motorsport Logistics.

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