Australian based Irishman, Richie Dalton will be ready for round two of the New Zealand Rally Championship despite the engine issues which plagued his car’s debut at the Otago Rally. Dalton and co-driver, John Allen had a troubled weekend in Dunedin, which marked the long awaited debut of the Ford Fiesta Proto. An all but smooth preparation for the event saw them arrive for recce with minutes to spare, and though early setup issues hampered their charge, they were still able to set some impressive stage times. A sixth fastest stage time on stage two, followed by another sixth fastest time in SS4, saw them coming to grips with the challenging Otago stages, despite not having a clean stage all rally.

Richie Dalton is interviewed at the start of the Otago Rally for the NZRC television coverage. Photo: Peter Whitten

Engine troubles, however, stopped them dead in their tracks. An engine beyond overnight repair saw them miss Sunday’s stages north of the rally’s base of Dunedin, however the engine is fixable. “Andrew Hawkeswood’s team should be able to repair the current engine rather than build a new one,” co-driver John Allen said.
“Their engines have got a great reputation, so we’re lucky.”
“This will enable the repairs to be completed over in New Zealand, which will create much less hassle for our guys.”

Richie Dalton is competing in the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship. Photo: Peter Whitten

A three week turnaround until Whangarei means it will be a quick trip back to Australia before they are back on New Zelaand’s fast and flowing roads. “Though it’s a short turnaround, we’re really confident of being back as good as ever,” Allen concluded.
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