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Rotorua’s Sloan Cox has come away from the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother, having shown plenty of promise but ultimately disappointed after mechanical problems on both days meant that high levels of car speed were not matched with the deserved results.
Cox started the opening day of the Brother International Rally Whangarei confident of a strong showing, however half way through the opening stage, the Taslo Engineering Mitsubishi Evo 10 dropped on to three cylinders. With another three stages before service, the pair lost more than four minutes and dropped to eighth place.
At the service break the Cox Motorsport crew cracked into the car, discovering that a failed fuel injector was the cause of the problem. With the car back up to full speed again, Cox and co-driving sister Tarryn started out with third fastest NZRC time, then backing it up with a second in stage six and the fastest NZRC time on stages seven and eight.
The stage win was special as Cox beat the previous stage record for a Group N car. The stage win was also Cox’s first gravel stage win, which he backed up again on the final stage of the day, which was the superspecial spectator stage, to climb back to fifth at days end.
Day two started well for the pair as they set the third fastest NZRC time, also inside the top five in the overall field which included technically superior Super 2000 specification cars. A small mistake on stage 10 saw Cox hit a strainer post with the left rear of the car, but despite that a fourth fastest NZRC time saw Cox maintain third for the second day. The days third stage was going well as the 19-year old again was third fastest of the NZRC runners, however as he neared the finish line, flames from under the car showed all was not well.
Although put out almost immediately by some helpful marshall’s, the fire was eventually traced to the previous day’s injector problem and subsequent piston failure, forcing the pair’s retirement.
“It’s been a really disappointing weekend points wise, but there are some positives to take out of this weekend,” said Cox. “Unfortunately we have a bit of work to do before Wairarapa, but we also can’t wait to continue our speed there.”
Cox Motorsport look forward to the next round of the NZRC, Rally Wairarapa, on April 28-29.

Press Release by BB Media

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