Masons going for seven at Rally Wairarapa
- 27th April 2012, 9:39am
Defending New Zealand Rally Champions, Richard and Sara Mason will be shooting for their seventh win in eight starts at their 'Home' round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC], powered by Brother - the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa - this weekend April 27 & 29.
In it’s current form, Rally Wairarapa only debuted in the NZRC in 2005 and the Triple Champions have now won this round six of the seven times it has been run, which is an NZRC record – surpassing Bruce Herbert’s five wins at Rally Rotorua (1999 - 2003).
Of those six wins, last year's is widely regarded as one of the best fightback drives in NZRC history, as the 'Masterton Flyers' powered their way back from a first stage turbo problem, which saw them drop to 18th place, and over three minutes behind the leaders, to eventually take victory by just 4.4 seconds.
“Our usual pre-rally plan is to identify specific stages that are key to gaining a significant advantage over our fellow competitors, but all that went out the window when the turbo let go, “ said Sara.
“So the final 14 stages were an awesome flat out blast, and I am so proud of Richard’s ‘never give up' attitude. Even when we were three minutes down on Saturday morning, he never once made any negative comment about our situation and was totally focused on getting us back in front by Sunday afternoon."
Since the Masterton-based event became part of the national series in 2005, the rally has been run in anything from the dust of April (2008) to the wet of winter in August (2006) and the local heroes have always had their BNT rally weapon at or near the top of the leaderboard regardless of the prevailing conditions.
So this year, with the rally being back at the earlier date and after a prolonged spell of dry weather, it looks like dust and gravel sweeping could play a key part in who comes out on top. However the weather forecast for the weekend is indicating rain could be on the way, which would certainly provide better grip for those running first on the roads.
"We really don't care what the weather has in store for us," said Richard, "because we just love getting out on our local roads and 'turning it on' for all our hometown supporters.
"And with what happened at Whangarei [having to retire on Day One with a mechanical problem while vying for the lead] 'turning it on' is now our only option if we are to get back into the fight for the [NZRC] championship this year.
"We can't control what everyone else does, so the best we can do is just that - our best - and in this case that means taking the maximum points possible by winning this weekend, and in so doing, put as much pressure as we can back on those around us.
"We love a challenge and we know we are up for it, especially when we all saw what good form Westy [Chris West] was in at Whangarei. And to have Andrew [Hawkeswood] back for the first time since 2008, means we are certainly not lacking for motivation to do well.
"Our battles with them are always awesome fun, and it sure will make this weekend very exciting indeed....both for us and the spectators."
The 2012 edition of Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa will be run over sixteen high-speed special stages, eight on Saturday - 129kms including the 7km long Te Parae Road, which will be the Power Stage for this round - and a further eight on Sunday (110kms).
The first car is expected to reach the finish ramp at Masterton’s Copthorne Solway Park Hotel soon after 3.30pm on Sunday.
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