Double New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason has shown a welcome return to form by powering his Prodrive-built BNT Subaru into second place at Rally Nelson held on August 21 and 22.

Mason and Co-driver wife Sara, were just over a minute adrift of championship leader Dean Sumner after Day One, and they fought tooth and nail all the way through Day Two, to concede only 12 more seconds by the Finish back in the host city.

In fact, such was the Sumner/Mason dominance on Sunday, they were almost 2 minutes clear of third place for the day, for the 111kms of special stages.

“As we said at the end of Saturday, we are feeling much happier than we have for some time, as the BNT Subaru has done us proud all weekend, particularly as a good chunk of our overall [time] deficit to Dean was the result of picking up a front puncture 9k from the end of stage 2, and in what was probably the fastest section of the whole rally,” said a very upbeat Richard.

“Sunday, in particular, was a fantastic fight and we were pushing as hard as we could over some of the roughest roads we have been on for a long time,” said Richard “but the BNT Subaru took it all in it’s stride, and we really feel we have made some significant advances in how to get the best out of it, at this round.”

“Yet again, that term ‘Team Effort’ really came through for us, as all the [BNT Mason Motorsport] crew – Nick, Ben, Eden, Hamish and Smithy – gave it their all to get us our best result of the season so far,” said Richard.

“And I can’t say enough about the fantastic work that Dwight [Dwight Scott of ScottSpeed Performance Engines] did for us. He came down to Nelson earlier than usual and did far more than just work on the engine. He spent untold hours studying and adjusting and fine tuning the setup [of the car] – and, as our result shows - it all paid off.”

“But regardless of how we went, we have to acknowledge a brilliant performance by Dean, who fully deserves to go to Wairarapa [the final round of the NZRC this year] with a healthy lead in the Championship.”

Richard has now moved up into fifth place on the GoldStar points table and knows he must score another top result at his ‘home’ rally - the TrustHouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa - in three weeks’ time (September 11 – 12,) if he is to have any hope of maintaining his record of Top Three Championship placings every year bar one – fourth in 2004 - since joining the NZRC nine seasons ago.


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