Mixed fortunes for BNT Motorsport at Whangarei
- 5th April 2012, 3:15pm
The Masterton Flyers started their title defence in fine style on Saturday, as they used the first of the 16 high speed special stages to get to grips with the new handling setup they were using.
"We were very happy at how differently, yet better, the car was handling," said Richard, "and an outright win on stage 2 - especially against such quality international opposition, had us confident we were right on track for a top result."
However a problem with the rear diff saw the Masons stranded after the end of stage 3 and forced to retire for the day.
"I think we may have landed heavily after a jump earlier on and that put too much load through the drive train," said a disappointed Richard.
So the rest of Saturday was spent back at the Service Park in Whangarei making the necessary repairs to 'BNT' to be ready to rejoin the fray first thing on Sunday morning.
The 8 stages on Sunday saw yet another a classic battle between two of New Zealand's best drivers as Richard fought Chris West all the way in pursuit of the NZRC points for Leg 2.
This was perfectly reflected by the first ever running of a Power Stage in the NZRC, where drivers fight to set the fastest time on a nominated stage to earn additional points.
For this round, the notoriously challenging 21 kilometres of the Waipu Caves was chosen, and West and Mason rose to the challenge, posting times a full 20 seconds faster than any of their local rivals and by the end could only be separated - in West's favour - by 64 x 100ths of a second...!!!!
"It was such an awesome day, and the new Power Stage showed just how exciting it can get," said Richard. "It is an excellent new innovation and really had the crowd on their feet as we blasted our way through."
"Sara's stop watch showed the same time as Westy's, and we knew it was going to go down to the wire. This time it went his way, next time..........." smiled Richard.
The next round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother, is "Rally from Home Time" for the Masons, as the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa runs out of and around Masterton in a month's time - April 25 -27.
It will also be "Catch Up Time" as the problems of Saturday mean that several of the Masons' opposition have gained quite an advantage on the NZRC points table at this early point in the season.
"We have come from behind in the past to win championships, so there is no reason why we can't do it again - and, if Sunday's fight with Westy is anything to go by, we are in for one heck of a ride over the next few months......"
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