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Phil Campbell’s strong start to the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship has continued with a strong and close fought second place in round two, the International Rally of Whangarei.

For Campbell and co-driver VenitaFabbro, there was plenty to fight for with not only NZRC points, but also the ability to compete against some of the best drivers in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, with the Letts Construction Ford Fiesta R2 one of the few vehicles in the NZRC still homologated for international competition.

Right from the outset, Campbell was on the pace and continuing his battle with Christchurch’s Josh Marston in an identical car. Campbell claimed four top five stage times against more powerful four-wheel drive opposition across the opening day, only surrendering his lead over Marston in the days seventh special stage. In the end, the pair would be separated overnight by less than a second.

Day two saw Campbell again setting a strong pace, recording top six stage times all day but just dropping back against Marston, again leaving Campbell as the NZRC two-wheel driver runner up.

On the final stage of the day however, known as the ‘Power Stage’ where bonus championship points are on offer, Campbell fought back and although unable to overhaul Marston for the day win, was able to take maximum bonus points, invaluable in what is turning out to be the most competitive battle in the New Zealand Rally Championship, with Campbell just two points behind Marston.

“We had another really good run, the new car is going absolutely fantastic,” said Campbell. “Unfortunately Josh had a bit on us on day two but that just gives us motivation to go even quicker.”

The Campbell Rally Sport team now look forward to Rally Hawkes Bay on June 2.

Photo: Jason Byrne

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