Mason class of NZRC field at Otago
- 10th May 2014, 7:09am
Current leader of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, Richard Mason, has been the class of the NZRC field in their BNT Subaru on the opening day of the Drivesouth Otago Rally. Following Mason home were Chris West and Emma Gilmour.
Mason and co-driving wife Sara took advantage of first pick at last night’s road order draw to start first on the damp roads and showed their class to record stage wins on each of the days seven stages. The most impressive performance on the day saw the Masons being 42 seconds faster than all of their opposition on the 50km Manuka Hill stage.
A strong battle for second place was brewing in the morning between local driver Emma Gilmour (Vantage Suzuki Swift Maxi 1600), Ben Hunt (Winger Subaru) and Chris West (Andrew Simms Mitsubishi). Unfortunately for Hunt, he lost close to five minutes with an electronic problem, dropping him to 13th for the day.
With a string of five second fastest stage times West secured second, just over one and a half minutes behind Mason and 27.2 seconds ahead of third placed Gilmour. David Holder and Lance Williams rounded out the top five, with Williams just slipping past Andrew Hawkeswood by three tenths of a second on the day’s final stage.
Marcus van Klink in his Mazda RX-7 was the first of the Historic cars home in eighth, heading home Ron Davey’s Ford Escort with Andy Martin’s Mazda RX-3 in third. In the Otago Classic event, van Klink sits third overall.
Max Bayley again put together a consistent run in his Ford Fiesta to lead Category Two, while the Category Three lead currently sits with the Brent Taylor in his Toyota FT86, 51 seconds ahead of the Toyota Levin of Hamish Anderson.
The one day Category Five class saw Darren Galbraith take the win after Jeff Judd, who was fastest across the stages, received a time penalty for lateness that dropped him to second place. Jeff Torkington took victory in the two-wheel drive side of the class for the second event in a row.
The action continues tomorrow with a further 142.64km of special stages centred around Lake Waihola before the ceremonial finish at the Dunedin Railway station at 3.25pm
The 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ is contested over six rounds commencing in April at Whangarei, followed by events in Dunedin, Christchurch, Masterton, Whitianga and wrapping up in the Manawatu in late September.
Photos: Peter Whitten
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