Double New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason and Co-driver wife Sara, have made a solid start to this year’s New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) by bringing their BNT Subaru home fourth overall at last weekend’s Drivesouth Rally Otago.

The Masterton Flyers executed their pre-event plan of taking a ‘Watch & See’ approach to the opening stages and, as their stage times and placings clearly show, their performance got better and better, culminating in a new record on the penultimate stage of the rally – the fabulous Waipori Gorge.

Bouyed by this result, they set off into the final 47 kilometre Berwick Forest test determined to better their 2nd fastest time on this same stage the day before. However, 10k from the finish the BNT Subaru’s left front wheel clipped an unseen rock and the tyre began to shed its tread, so by the finish all that was left was threads of canvas. Incredibly, the Dunlop tyre, although badly damaged, did not actually puncture.

“The last few kilometres of Berwick Forest is a very slippery, muddy, downhill section and we lost considerable time with a serious lack of traction on the left front,” a disappointed Richard commented at the finish.

“The Waipori [stage] time had got us up into third place for the rally and 2nd for the leg, so we felt really confident that we could, at the very least, hold on to those positions.”

But, for the second time in three years, the Berwick Forest ‘Sting in the Tail’ bit the Masons and although they recorded a time – on three good tyres - 43 seconds faster than their first pass on Saturday, they had to settle for 4th place overall for both the leg and the rally.

BNT Mason Motorsport now turn their attention to Rally New Zealand in four weeks’ time – May 6 – 8 - when round 2 of the NZRC will be based at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park for ‘High Octane at Hampton’ – which will feature the rally cars competing on the tarmac circuit three times – on gravel rally tyres.

BNT Mason Motorsport are proud to welcome Hopper Construction and Geartech into their group of partners and would also like to acknowledge their ongoing association with long time supporters BNT, Subaru, Dunlop, B.W.O’Brien, The PC Factory, ScottSpeed Performance Engines, Pagid, Randall & Associates, Quality Foods and Tom’s Auto Services, without whose invaluable assistance they would not have been able to embark on their tenth consecutive year as a leading contender in the NZRC.

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