After a sweeping victory in the opening round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, reigning Group N3 champion, Patrick Malley, is looking to continue his winning ways with a victory at this weekend’s Otago Rally. However first on the agenda for the NZ Truth Fiesta driver is redemption after last year's event where he scored a double DNF (did not finish) at this the southern-most NZRC round.

Last year, Malley headed into the round after a maximum points haul at the opening round and Otago became the only hiccup in his season when mechanical issues and an off road excursion cost him valuable championship points.

Malley elaborates, “We were on a high heading into Otago last year when we came up against an issue that slowed the car down in the first stage. Whilst trying to figure out what the problem was, I wasn’t concentrating enough coming into a corner and we ended up rolling out of the event.”

Malley will definitely be trying to avoid a repeat result on the Otago roads he enjoys so much, a big challenge in the expected bitterly cold and snowy conditions.

For Malley the goal is the same as Hawkes Bay, top Fiesta and top two-wheel drive. Despite long time rival Aaron Cook not making the trip ‘down south’, Malley expects tougher opposition for both classes.

“Ben Jagger showed some real pace at Hawkes Bay and the other three (Ben Hunt, Daniel Harris and Dominick Unterberger) will have more of a grip on the Fiestas and start to push us more,” says Malley.

“Tony McConachy has to be the main opposition for overall two-wheel drive. That Starlet (McConachy’s Hyabusa powered Toyota Starlet) of his is fantastic and it would be good to have more Kiwi-built cars like that in the championship.”

In his quest for a top ten overall finish, Malley will have to overcome the opposition of competitors in the Otago Classic rally, which he thinks is achievable.

“I don’t see why we can’t – anything is possible in rallying – and the Fiesta is the best car to try that in. It may not have the top speed of many other cars out there, but it is just such an awesome package that all you have to do is drive to your limits and the car will perform beautifully. However I don’t think I would turn down some extra horsepower if someone offered it to me!”

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