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Four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason know that this weekend’s GoPro Daybreaker Rally in the Manawatu is crucial to their pursuit of a record breaking 5th New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] title.
With the unavailability of current championship leader Hayden Paddon for the next two rounds, the Masterton Flyers are determined to make the most of his absence as a top result would see them take the lead with three rounds to go.
And success in Feilding on Saturday carries even more significance for the Masons due to the new NZRC rules that have been introduced this year.
Prior to the start of the 6th and final round – the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa in early October - all competitors must drop their worst points scoring round from the first five events.
Therefore it is vital that the Masons head home with the maximum points possible, so they can hold the key advantage of ‘points on the board’ heading into the likely showdown at the end of the series.
“We are actually a bit disappointed that Hayden won’t be there this weekend,” said Richard, “because we were very heartened with our pace and form at Whangarei.
“That was a big step up from [the previous round] Otago, and the really exciting thing is that we know we can still improve the handling even more and that there is more good speed to come from the BNT Subaru.”
So the BNT Mason Motorsport Team have spent the five weeks since Whangarei carrying out even more development work and are therefore very keen to see just how significant and beneficial that work has been.
“With Hayden being the benchmark at the first two rounds, we were really looking forward to giving him ‘a run for his money’ at the Daybreaker….”
The GoPro Daybreaker Rally makes a welcome return to the NZRC after a twelve year absence and will make its mark by being one of the shortest distance rounds for many years, with just over 116 kilometres of high speed special stages, some of which have decided not only the rally but also championship titles in years gone by. Stages like the infamous Ridge Road have become legendary in NZ rallying.
So it will be an absolutely flat-out sprint event and therefore any problems or delays that befall a crew will be extremely difficult to recover from.
“Although it’s almost a local event for us, we haven’t actually competed there as many times as you might expect,” said Richard, “but some of the roads are classics and should suit my driving style better than those up north at Whangarei.
Round 3 of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship – the one day GoPro Daybreaker Rally is based in Feilding.

The 68 competitors will start from Manfeild Park from 8.30am on Saturday 29th June, with the first competitive stage starting at 9am, just north of the town.

Competition then moves to the township of Apiti with two loops on the surrounding roads, before the rally finishes back in the centre of Feilding at 4pm.

Photo by Geoff Ridder

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