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Christchurch rally driver, Matt Jansen, has consolidated his strong position in the Rookie, Junior and Gold Star Championships despite a difficult weekend on the roads of the deep south of New Zealand on the Otago Rally.

Jansen, and co-driver Jason Farmer, struggled for grip on the opening day on the slippery but fast roads. A wrong tyre choice also saw the tyres overheat in the 32 kilometre Akatore stage but the team still had the Christchurch Casino Subaru leading a three way battle with the Evo 10s of Sloan Cox and Kingsley Thompson.     

Although Thompson went off the road, the battle between Jansen and Cox for first Junior driver was intense and went down to the final tarmac Super Special stage where Jansen needed to make up a mere 1.5 seconds. Unfortunately, whilst pushing hard, the outside front tyre popped off the rim. The unavoidable contact with the kerb and power pole damaged the Subaru heavily.

A top effort by the Christchurch Casino team saw them work until 3 am getting the car into a state of repair that meant Jansen could cross the start ramp on day 2.

“The boys did a fantastic job. There is no doubt that without their effort on Saturday night we wouldn’t have been able to run on Sunday.” said Jansen.

The car started the second day still carrying some damage that the team were unable to fix, such as a bent shock absorber. Jansen battled through the day to once again finish second in the Rookie and Junior competitions to maintain his lead in both series'.

Eighth in Group N also sees Jansen and Farmer maintain their fourth overall in the premier Group N Gold Star championship heading into round 3, Rally Whangarei, on June 6 and 7.

By Blair Bartels

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