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Christchurch's Matt Jansen is back in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship – driven by Vinz [NZRC], and will start his driving involvement at this weekend’s Drivesouth Rally of Otago.

 Jansen was at the opening round at Whangarei last month as part of the service crew for one of his sponsors – Tony Gosling from Stadium Finance – but gets his chance to get back behind the wheel of his MITECH WELDERS Subaru at the southern-most round of the 6 round series this weekend.

“The rule introduced last year that allows us to drop our worst round score has been retained this year,” said Jansen, “so with funds being as tight as ever, we decided to make our ‘dropped round’ Whangarei. It’s the furthest one for us to get to - and probably the most expensive - so by missing it we can afford to focus fully on our two ‘local’ rounds here in the South Island.”

That means a serious assault on the crests and brows of Rally Otago and at the end of this month, over Queen’s Birthday weekend, a similar effort will take place through the iconic Ashley Forest and county roads of North Canterbury in his home region.

Jansen returns to Otago to recommence his battle with these wonderfully challenging roads and to try to repeat his fine 4th outright in 2012, a result that was pivotal in him winning his second Junior national title with one round to spare. That result is the shining light on Jansen’s Otago CV as his 2011 and 2013 visits both ended prematurely with mechanical problems in the first special stage.

“Apart from the 4th in 2012, it’s been either Bad Luck or No Luck in Otago, so we are determined to have a ‘2012 year’ this time,” he said.

The vastly experienced Rocky Hudson, a fellow Cantabrian, will carry out the co-driving duties at these South Island rallies.

Jansen is working hard to raise the necessary finance to enable him to cross Cook Strait when the series returns to the North Island at the end of next month for the 4th round – the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa.

“We are going to give anyone interested in coming for a ride with me in the MITECH WELDERS Subaru the chance to win one of six rides we will be doing on two separate occasions – Sunday July 13th and then again on November 2nd.

"It’s a great way to experience our sport first hand and we are more than happy to give people the opportunity. We will be announcing more details in the coming weeks.”

Starting with an autograph session and opening ceremony in Dunedin’s Octagon from 5pm on Friday the high speed action of this edition of Rally Otago begins Saturday morning.

Departing from outside the Southern Cross Hotel (High St) from 7:50am the field of 88 cars, including 28 contesting the championship, will cover seven special stages for the day. The second and final day of eight special stages, again held largely to the south of the city, returns the teams to the Dunedin Railway station for the finish from 3pm.

Photo: Euan Cameron

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