Shane Murland from Paraparaumu has started to build a comfortable lead in the week long epay Silver Fern marathon rally for historic cars after the second day’s stages in the foothills of the Southern Alps between Christchurch and Timaru today.

Murland started the day with a 1 minute 48 second advantage over second placed Jeff Judd, which he extended to 2 minutes 50 seconds by the time he reached Timaru. Third placed Englishman Simon Tysoe is a further 90 seconds back. All three are driving Escort RS1800s.

Christchurch’s Brent Rawstron who was Murland’s closest challenger at the start of the day, broke a gear lever on the day’s first stage through Okuku Pass near Rangiora. He had to change gears in his Escort with the aid of some vice grips and dropped to ninth overall, but had battled back to sixth by the end of the day after his service crew replaced the gear lever.

Former Australian double national champion Geoff Portman who was on the leader board after the Banks Peninsula stages on Sunday, suffered a puncture in his Holden Commodore in the Okuku Pass and then had to repair suspension damage as well, slipping from fourth to 14th. He reached Timaru back in 8th place.

After his disastrous start to the event, top seed, South African Geoff Bell was sixth fastest through yesterday’s stages, rising from 31st to 21st overall in his Escort.

In the challenge event for vehicles of the same era, but with more modifications Andrew Hawkeswood from Alexandra grabbed the lead on the last stage of the day in his Mazda RX7.
Hawkeswood, formerly from Auckland was 24 seconds faster than class leader Australian Brad Goldsbrough through the 19 kms stage at Waitohi near Pleasant Point.

The fastest man in the class all day was the 2006 winner, Brian Stokes from Kaiapoi who has started a strong fight back after a suspension failure on his Escort on Sunday’s third stage at Pipers Valley on the Banks Peninsula. He is now up to 12th place.

Former leader, Christchurch’s Deane Buist in an Escort, also suffered a puncture and is now three minutes behind Hawkeswood in fourth while the other front runner from the first day, Craig Marshall is out of the event all together with a blown differential in his Peugeot.

The Baby Fern Rally which is being held over the first three days of the full event continues to be led by Christchurch’s Marcus Van Klink.

Tomorrow’s stages take the field through six stages in the McKenzie Country and North Otago from Timaru to Dunedin. The rally finishes in Queenstown on Saturday after 1060 kms of special stages.

epay Silver Fern Historic Rally – Overall results after Day 2
1, S Murland, J Benton (Escort RS1800) Paraparaumu, 2 hrs 12 mins 17 secs;
2, J Judd, M Smith (Escort RS1800) Christchurch, 2.15.07;
3, S Tysoe, C Parsons (Escort RS1800) England, 2.16.37;
4, A Siddall, C Thompson (Escort RS1800) England, 2.18.28;
5, K Callinan, M Callinan (Escort RS1800) Australia,  2.19.28;
6, B Rawstron, I McKee (Escort RS1800) Christchurch, 2.19.44.

epay Silver Fern Challenge Rally – Overall results after Day 2
1, A Hawkeswood, S Johnstone (Mazda RX7) Alexandra, 2 hrs 16 mins 13 secs;
2, B Goldsbrough, A Topliff (Datsun 1600) Australia, 2.16.25;
3, B Taylor, C Ramsay (Toyota Corolla) Cambridge, 2.17.30;
4, D Buist, A Bulman (Escort RS1800) Christchurch, 2.17.39;
5, D Martin, B Gibb (Ford Fiesta) Christchurch, 2.20.39.

epay Baby Fern Rally – Overall results after Day 2
1, M van Klink, G Kennedy (Toyota Trueno) Christchurch, 2hrs 16 mins 36 secs;
2, G Cliff, R Atkinson (Datsun Stanza) Christchurch, 2.19.01;
3, J Hewlett, T Hewlett (Escort RS 1800) Christchurch, 2.26.13.
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