McLean chasing 2WD honours in 2017 NZRC
- 2nd April 2017, 11:39pm
Canterbury’s Chris McLean (21) is about to take on the NZ Rally Championship (NZRC) in the Ford Fiesta he has spent all summer preparing.
Chris and navigator Sarah Brennan will take on New Zealand’s best rally drivers starting with the Rally of Otago this weekend, followed by five further events during the year.
McLean is a rookie in the NZRC for 2017 and will compete for the 2WD and Junior NZRC Championship titles.
So far he has competed in a handful of South Island events, but already has been noticed as someone with strong potential in the sport. He was selected to receive training with the Hyundai NZ and Hayden Paddon scholarship late last year.
While McLean is new to the championship, navigator Sarah Brennan (25) has had several years in the NZRC and has won the 2WD Championship twice previously, navigating for Christchurch’s Hamish Anderson.
“Sarah brings really valuable experience,” Chris says. “She knows what she’s doing calling pacenotes, but also how all the procedures work. Having been to these events before means Sarah will be a huge help in my NZRC rookie year.”
McLean’s 2005 Ford Fiesta has a big history. The car launched the career of 2015 NZRC Champion Ben Hunt, who won the drive in the car in 2009 as part of a scholarship.
“The car is older but proven, and we have put in a lot of new parts to ensure it should run reliably all season,” commented Chris.
Kayne Barrie built the Fiesta back in 2008. It has been used to chase the 2WD Championship by quite a who’s who of rallying. Brendan Reeves ran the car before it went to Hunt, then Ben Barker, followed by Josh Marston.
2016 NZ Rally Champion David Holder ran the 2013 NZRC season in the car. Louise Cook of the UK also used the car at the last Rally NZ in 2012. Most recently the car was owned by Ben Grundy.
The team plan to compete in at least five of the six rounds in the 2017 NZRC.
“We hope to make the podium in 2WD, but we will be up against a lot of good drivers in good cars, many of whom have a lot more experience than us,” McLean said. ”If we can get on the podium regularly then that will be a win for us in 2017.”
- Ross Teesdale
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