Christchurch’s Andrew Grundy and Mark Smith continue to lead the 2008 NZ Silver Fern International Marathon Rally after five of the eight days in their Mazda RX7 bat-car. Grundy today commented “we are just running at our own pace, which seems to be fast enough to keep us ahead, the car is going just great and we’re loving it.”
Had it not been for an uncharacteristic 4-1/2 minute off road excursion in the last stage of the day (Moir Farm near Balclutha) Christchurch’s Brian Stokes and Grant Marra in their Ford Escort MKI would have been within 10 seconds of the lead. He now sits second overall at 4 minutes 37 seconds behind Grundy.
Stokes had earlier in the day damaged a wheel hub touring to the first special stage of the day. “I just made more work for the guys in the team effecting repairs – sorry guys,” said a philosophical Stokes.
He temporarily withdrew from the event, but the team were able to make the repairs and he made it to the stage just in time to run and as a result has been at the back of the field for the rest of the day. He then proceeded to put in times for every stage except the last of around one minute faster than everyone else.
Holding on to his third position was Auckland’s Craig Marshall in the little Peugeot 205 GTi 180, 5 minutes behind the leader. Englishman Grant Shand’s Escort is fourth a further 2-1/2 minutes back followed by Hamilton’s Charlie Evans in his Mazda RX7.
The last stage of the day where Stokes went off, also caught a number of other competitors, including the BMW of Nelson Garry Adcock, and the Ford Escort of Englishman Andrew Barns.
The competing cars and their teams left a damp Invercargill at 7.15am and headed for the Gore area before a lunchtime service break in the Tapanui township. The afternoon saw crews stages in the Balclutha area before crews ended the day at the Scenic Circle Southern Cross Hotel in Dunedin.
Tomorrow’s (Tuesday Oct 21) sixth day of the eight day event, will see competitors travel north thru the inland Otago area before finishing the day with a motorsport show and dinner at Timaru’s Caroline Bay at around 5.00pm.
The days competition stages will take place on roads near Macraes (8.40am), Hampden (10.15am) Herbert (10.55am) and Oamaru (12.05), before a service / lunch break in the Kurow township at around 12.30am. In the afternoon the teams will tackle Meyers Pass (1.45pm), the Waimate Forest (3.05pm) and Backline Road (4.10pm) before continuing to end the day in Timaru.
The event then travels north to Christchurch before ending up at the new Marlborough Convention Centre in Blenheim on Thursday October 23rd at 3.30pm.
The 2008 NZ Silver Fern International Marathon Rally, currently being held over 8 day’s in New Zealand’s South Island, is the longest duration motor-sport event being held in NZ, and takes its roots from the Silver Fern and Heatway Rallies of the late 1960’s & early 1970’s.
For a complete listing of the day’s stage times, incident and field media reports and detailed maps of the event, visit
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