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Clint Cunningham has come away from round two of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Whangarei, happy despite an off-road excursion on day two that ended his rally.

In his first season competing in the NZRC, Cunnningham is chasing the rookie championship and a strong opening day, setting times that had him comfortably inside the top ten despite driving the older RCK Contractors Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4, although clocking out late from the final service of the day meant he would drop from eighth down to 12th place overnight.

With rookie points awarded after the opening day, Cunningham took second in the rookie title race for the day, which combined with his third place at the opening round in Otago, has seen him move into the lead of that championship, which Cunningham states as his goal for the 2013 season.

Day two saw Cunningham battling with long-time competitors Dave Strong and Brian Green, despite the West Aucklander giving away in excess of 25 years experience to each.

But an unfortunately placed culvert on the inside of a corner bought an end to that as Cunningham and Ruka went off the road and heavily damaged the car after cutting a corner. Although both were OK, they were forced to retire from the event.

“It was an unfortunate end to the event for us, it wasn’t a big mistake but it was a big crash,” said Cunningham. “But I’m still really happy with the speed that we had and we are now leading the rookie championship, which is our goal for the year, so it’s not all bad.”

Cunningham and his team now face a race against time to repair the badly twisted car before their next event, Rally Hawkes Bay, on June 2.

Photo: Euan Cameron


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