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Timaru’s Darren Galbraith with Christchurch co-driver Rocky Hudson have led home a field 44 South Island based teams competing in the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Series over the weekend’s opening round, Westland Rally.

Heavy rain the day prior to the event cleared and teams were greeted with near perfect road conditions. The opening stage saw top-seed Galbraith upstaged by the brother and sister team of Matt and Nicole Summerfield from Christchurch by just one second. However, when a turbo pipe fell off the Summerfield Subaru, Galbraith would assume a lead he would not relinquish.

Having dropped to eighth, the Summerfield pair would climb back to second place, 20 seconds away from the lead, overhauling experienced Cantabrian’s Jeff Judd and Grant Marra, who would round out the podium.

Fourth place would also see Robert McCallum/Peter Kennard win Class C for two-wheel drive cars over 1600cc, heading home Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill’s new Mazda RX-8 by one and a half minutes, with Andrew and Caleb Sim coming home third in class.

A stand out tenth overall in their first rally saw Garet and Gemma Thomas take honours in Class E for pre-1996 four-wheel drive cars, edging out class stalwarts David and Liam Gee, with Phil Collins and Tracy Spark in third place.

Class F for classic cars would see Regan Ross taking the class win after a day long battle with Graham Ferguson and Ross Moody’s similar Ford Escort, the pair only separated by 8.6 seconds after 115 kilometres of closed road action. John’s Silcock and Richard Atkinson came home in third place.

Class B for 1300-1600cc two-wheel drive cars saw the brother/sister pair of Robbie and Amy Stokes claim victory, leading home David Taylor/Barry Gilbertson and Nigel Tyson/Julie Parry, while Class A for 0-1300cc cars saw just two finishers, with Jonathan Taylor/Jared Hudson leading home Hayden Riddle/Thomas Patterson.

Teams now turn their attention to the Rally Otago on April 7-9, where the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Series will run alongside the New Zealand Rally Championship and the infamous Otago Classic Rally.

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