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In a dramatic end to the final day of the eight-day NZ Silver Fern International Marathon Rally, Christchurch’s Andrew Grundy and Mark Smith have held on to win in their Mazda RX7.
 
Grundy, who lead by 2 and a half minutes going into the final day, had an overheating engine, and nursed his car to the finish at the Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim late this afternoon.
 
His win was helped by an even more dramatic end to the event for second placed Aucklander Craig Marshall and his English co-drover Andrew Smith, whose Peugeot 206 GTi suffered engine failure on the penultimate stage.
 
Marshall was, however, able to get his car to the finish, taking a stage maximum time for the uncompleted final stage, and crossed the finish ramp just 13 seconds ahead of the third placed English pairing of Grant Shand and Chris Parsons in their Ford Escort RS1800.
 
In fourth place was Charlie Evans with co-driver Paul Matthews in their Mazda RX7.
 
Speaking from the finish Grundy asked: “Where is the area for us to do doughnuts in winning celebration

“it was a trying event,” having himself lost time with several incidents, including a four minute puncture, and the loss of his cooling fans costing another four minutes. His 10 minute 36 second win was “pretty sweet”.
 
From the day he watched Hannu Mikkola and Mike Marshall on the 1973 Heatway Rally as a kid, Grundy said: “I’ve always wanted to do a marathon event, now I have, and won it.” 

Australians David Hills and David Callaghan finished the event seventh in their Mk1 Ford Escort.

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