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Christchurch’s Deane Buist has taken maximum points for the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Series at the fourth round, the Mag & Turbo Rally Nelson, after a close fought battle to hold off Jeff Judd and Garet Thomas.

Deane Buist won the Nelson Rally in a Ford Escort RS1800. (Photo: Geoff Ridder)Fine conditions greeted competitors for the return of the round to the series, which last ran in 2010. Judd made the early pace, with Thomas second fastest and Jason Clark moving into third.

Stage four would prove decisive, offering up the most challenging conditions of the rally. Judd would take a conservative approach that cost him dearly, allowing both Thomas and Buist to leapfrog him.

As the afternoon progressed, Buist secured the lead while Thomas slipped behind Judd, with the podium split by less than a minute after 80 kilometres of stages.

The top ten was rounded out by David Quantock, Richard Bateman, David Gee, Darryl Campbell, Matt Summerfield, Phil Collins and Ashton Wood.

Class B (1301-1600cc) saw Mike Sheehan take victory ahead of Steve Cattermole and with Russell Burgess claiming third in class. Buist’s outright victory saw him take out the class win for over 1600cc (Class C) two-wheel drive, with no other finishers in the class.

Judd’s second place saw him make Class D (Open four-wheel drive) victory ahead of Quantock and Bateman, while Thomas took victory in Class E (Pre-’96 four-wheel drive) ahead of Gee and Collins.

Class F (Classic) was dominated by Ashton Wood, who led home Eddie Gray and Rex Ford.

Victory sees Buist extend his lead in the series, now 11 points ahead of Summerfield with Bateman third, while Judd and Quantock round out the top five. The next round of the series sees teams head to the Catlins Coast for round five on August 12.

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