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Andrew Graves and Jared Leebody took out the hotly contested Catlins Coast Rally in New Zealand’s South Island on Saturday. Graves, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3, won his third Catlins Coast Rally, heading a strong field of regular NZRC competitors. Jeff Judd used his older Subaru Impreza WRX to finish in second, whilst the Mitsubishi Mirage of Michael Tall rounded out the podium places. In addition to locking out the podium, Graves, Judd and Tall also started the event in this order, as seeds one, two and three. The popular event was hit with ice and snow last year, but despite clearer weather, the stages still took their toll. Deane Buist kept his Mainland Rally Championship lead and finished a strong fourth overall and first 2WD, ahead of some strong competition in fellow Escort driver, Derek Ayson. Matt Summerfield and Tony Gosling both swapped their regular cars for older model Subaru Legacy RSs and placed sixth and 14th respectively. Ex-pat Australian, John Spencer, escaped some miraculous ‘two-wheeled’ exploits to finish in 16th in his Datsun 1600, despite a huge scare when he rolled his car onto its side. The next, and penultimate round, of the Mainland series is the Hamner Rally in three weeks’ time.
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