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Leading the way for competition using environmentally friendly energy, Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield has the honour of starting this weekend’s opening round of the Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship as the first team to use bio diesel as a fuel.

Summerfield (16) with co-driver Dave Neill are entered in to the five round championship season with a Skoda Fabia vRS – previously used in the Production Racing Series before it’s conversion to rally trim.

Starting on Friday (3 April) at the Tomoana Warehousing Rally Hawke’s Bay, Summerfield is among 31 other teams vying for championship honours at events across the country during the six month season.

Competing in the Kiwi-2 category for two-wheel drive cars, the Skoda is powered by fuel manufactured from Canola oil processed and marketed under the brand ZeroB100 BioDiesel by the Summerfield family business – Kiwifuels.

Following extensive testing leading up to the season-opener, Summerfield has been tutored by former WRC driver Alister McRae, while the car has performed exemplary with its inherent diesel torque matching traditional fuelled counter-parts.

With both car and driver a show-case to the performance and ability of locally produced fuel, Summerfield, son of rally competition veteran Les, has plenty weighing on him at the Hawke’s Bay weekend – starting with number 31 on his doors.

Preceding the two-days of competition, all the championship cars will be on display at Napier’s Sound Shell from 4:30pm Friday afternoon, before crossing the ceremonial ramp adjacent to Marine Parade at 7pm.  The action begins in earnest Saturday morning with a 25 kilometre journey to start off the Napier/Taupo highway and in to the 18.53km Waipunga stage.

Progressing north, the cars complete a further three tests before a lunch service stop in Wairoa to turn the teams south through traditional county and forest reaches before the end of day stop in Napier.  Adding to the tests set down for the weekend, the season end to daylight saving at 2am on Sunday will give teams an extra hour to prepare for the final day.  Resuming from 7am Sunday morning, the journey pushes teams north and inland, refreshing during the day at the Whirinaki Pulp Mill service area.

Adding to the spectacle, the 11.28km Triple Bridges stage alongside the Ngaruroa River between Hastings and Napier provides the penultimate test before a 24km sprint through the ‘Dartmoor’ stage brings the crews to the ceremonial finish at Napier’s Pak ‘n Save Supermarket carpark on Station street from 4pm.
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