Kingsley Thompson went into the Nelson round of the New Zealand Rally Championship last weekend with the highly experienced co-driver Jeff Judd. Judd, who is newly retired from co-driving after competing beside fellow Kiwi, Mark Tapper, as part of the International Pirelli Star Driver team, was enticed back into the sport for this event to help the team further their development.

There were some clear goals from Thompson going into the weekend, including lifting his game and aspiring to be competitive amongst the top five of the sport. With the teams pace note system being unfamiliar to Judd, his experience played a major part and the day went as well as anyone could dream, as Team Dilusi took fourth fastest stage time in the opening stage of the Rally. The rest of Saturday only improved with consistent stage times all within the top five, landing the Team an impressive 4th overall for Day One.

With an overnight freshen up of Lucy (the car), the team were confident of another good result going into day two. However it was a disappointing 2km from the start of the first stage on Sunday that gave testament to rallying’s unforgiving nature and dampened Team Dilusi’s amazing performance.

Thompson and Judd lost any chance of improving on their day one result after they went wide on a fast 5th gear corner and bellied Lucy on some bushes off the side of the road. They frustratingly had to wait until all the cars had gone through the stage before the recovery crews were able to tow a bellied Lucy the mere half a metre back onto the road.

After being allowed to re-join the rally later in the day with the replacement of the front cross member and some cosmetic repairs to the front bumper, Thompson and Judd were then able to continue on and check their newly written pace notes whilst also gaining additional experience on the Nelson forest stages.

“We did not quite achieve all that we wanted for this weekend, but have come away better prepared for Rally Wairarapa, in three weeks’ time, so will carry this experience with us to that round,” says Thompson.

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