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Kiwi to introduce new tyre brand to 2019 NZRC

Clint Cunningham will switch to Zestino tyres in 2019. Photo: Peter Whitten

New Zealand Rally Championship competitor, Clinton Cunningham, will make a switch from Maxxis tyres to the new Zestino brand rally tyres for the 2019-2020 rally seasons.

Cunningham’s current two-year commercial deal with Maxxis is coming to a end.

“It’s been a really tough two years since moving from a Mitsubishi to the undeveloped Ford Fiesta Proto, and a lack of testing the Ford’s set up and not a lot of seat time has resulted in a string of non finishes,” he said.

“This has brought frustration and disappointment right through the team. We believe the car has the potential and we have shown pockets of speed throughout the last two years, but just couldn’t string it all together to get the results.

“I actually thought we wouldn’t be back in 2019 due to all my commercial partners contracts expiring at the end of November 2018, and with nothing confirmed for 2019,” he added.

“With no real results to promote, it was hard to engage a financial partner to back us.

“Then Phillip Broadbent, who imports the Zestino rally tyres, phoned me and we talked and put a two-year commercial deal together.”

Cunningham will promote the fairly priced new Zestino tyre brand over the next two seasons.

“I will be sticking with Ford again in the Fiesta Proto for the next two NZRC seasons. The team will have a new livery promoting some new commercial and brand partners to help make up the team’s budget.”

Raymond (Crunch) Bennett will again bring his wealth of experience and co-drive for next season, which will mark his third year in the team.

After a holiday break, Cunningham will start his 2019 testing program on the first weekend in January.

More NZ rally news:

Feature: Kiwi co-driver’s death-defying ride with Ari Vatanen

Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

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