Harris aiming for top spot in Nelson Rally
- 17th September 2009, 8:57am
Harris is likely to be remembered for his amazing performance in the yellow and white Mitsubishi Evo 3 last year, holding off multiple former New Zealand Champion Richard Mason, taking an impressive stage win, backed up by a 3rd outright, as the turbo began to disintegrate.
Then the ill-fated puncture that forced him and co-driver Darryn Green to change mid stage, put him just out of the Rally Xtreme podium contention which he once led from 24 hard-charging finalists.
However 4th place in NZ Rally Xtreme and 10th overall was still a mighty fine effort by the then 17 year old. Topped off with an over 3 minute Class E lead despite a challenging day and 2nd Mainland Series, he drove what he still describes â€œthe best rally of his careerâ€.
â€œNelson last year was maybe one of the most challenging in many ways but one of the most satisfying in terms of my driving. Darryn (Green) and I both performed perfect from the get-go and it all just worked! We kept our head in the game and tried to get a sick car to the end at the same time. I have no idea how it lasted.â€
This year, Harris will team up with 19 year-old Tarryn Cox of Rotorua, who is standing in for the teamâ€™s regular co-driver Paul Fallon (Taupo) who had to unfortunately withdraw from the event last week.
â€œWe welcome Tarryn to the team for this event. She is very â€˜match-fitâ€™ and a very talented and dedicated co-driver. We are confident that it will work well.â€
Cox, sister of Sloan who competes in the Group N 4WD class of the New Zealand Championship, started out navigating at just 12 years of age. Having worked closely with Fallon especially when entering the New Zealand Championship, she is well equipped for quickly adapting to the team.
Having had a full on season so far competing at the previous National Championship rounds in the Open 4WD class with mentor and former New Zealand champion Geoff Argyle, she has also prior to coming to Nelson, competed at the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally with Dylan Turner, a former New Zealand Championship competitor. Cox is very much looking forward to joining the team and the very competitive Group N 2WD class.
"I am excited about joining Harris Rallysport for the Nelson Rally. I have watched the Group N 2WD Championship during the year and the competitiveness of the cars is great. I look forward to joining Daniel in this class and we will be working towards a winning result at his home rally."
18 year old Harris, is also very â€˜match fitâ€™ having competed at 2 local hill-climbs since the previous round in Wairarapa to keep up his driving, achieving amazing results.
â€œWe have put in some good driving in preparation for the event. I have been putting a strong focus on improving in a few areas which I feel has been positive.â€
Harris placed 3rd outright at the first hill-climb, planting himself on the result sheet amongst a contingent of Mitsubishi Evos. However it was the next event that caught everyone by surprise, winning the event outright in a close battle with a local Mitsubishi Evo 3 and Gary Adcocks BMW.
â€œIt was a great surprise... I was too busy taking the rally sponsors to really take notice at the time! It was a positive sign for me as the road was very technical uphill, which is where I wanted to step it up a notch.â€
The Harris Rallysport team aims to end the season on a high, after a low point mid season cost them the championship fight.
â€œWe would like to continue on after this season and putting in a good drive and gaining a good result is going to be paramount; for sponsorship and for creating opportunities for us to move forward. We have achieved such great things together for a little team. We work so hard, it is the life of a lot of the team. I want to reward everyone for their heart and soul dedication.â€
Come and watch Harris and Cox as they challenge the rivals on home turf in what is going to be a great battle class wise, with 3 of the 5 drivers residing in Nelson.
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