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Four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason achieved their pre-rally objective of taking away a top points haul when they finished second at the opening round of this year’s Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] – the Drivesouth Rally of Otago last weekend – April 5 - 7.
 
The defending champions put in a consistently quick performance throughout the second day, fast enough to resist the challenges of any of the chasing pack and even set a new stage record on the blast down the classic Waipori Gorge stage – the first time the record has broken through the 8 minute barrier for the 13km test.
 
“Today was really all about consolidating our overnight [second place] position,” said Richard, “because after yesterday’s two punctures we knew our only realistic chance of moving any further up the leaderboard would be if Hayden [Paddon] had a significant problem.
 
“That didn’t happen, so we focused instead on ensuring we kept the BNT Subaru in the best possible condition for a top run through the power stage for the bonus points, prizemoney, and this year’s latest innovation, the opportunity to get the best pick of our starting position for the next round at Whangarei next month.  
 
“Once again, second was the best we could achieve, so second pick at Whangarei it will be….
 
Interestingly the Masterton Flyers head north with more than 4 times the amount of NZRC points they had after the first round of last year’s series, when they were down in seventh place on the points table, ultimately winning their fourth title with a day to spare..
 
“Now we have had the chance to measure ourselves against our opposition in competition, we will carry out the next stage of our Group N Plus development plan over the next few weeks before Whangarei.
 
“And with the added bonus of a number of those championship contenders failing to finish this weekend, we are more than happy with our result, as it gives us a great platform for our [NZRC] title defence and the start of our eighth season under BNT sponsorship.”
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