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With the NZ Silver Fern Rally recently receiving a number of high profile European driver entries for their event, the latest surprise for organisers comes this time in the form of an ex British Championship winning car.
Dunedin driver Nelson Cottle is the most recent entry for next month's 7 day NZ Silver Fern Marathon Rally. Cottle’s car for the event will be the ex Works Team Nissan Europe 240RS, which the late Mark Lovell used to win the 1985 RAC National Rally Championship in the UK.
Cottle’s Nissan 240RS is one of three he owns, but as he puts it, “the one with the most history. It was pretty average when I bought it from the UK in 1999, so I rallied it as was for a couple of years.”
“We’re now putting the finishing touches to what has been a complete nuts and bolts restoration, and it looks just like new” He added “now that its finally out of the panel shop after 18 months, I’m just waiting for the engine which is being rebuilt by South Auckland Nissan expert Reg Cook”.
The car greatly overshadows Cottle’s rallying experience, which is just seven rallies. He started out with a front wheel drive Toyota Corolla, in the 1990’s completing three Catlins Rallies, and managing a championship class win in the Southern Hillclimb series.
Cottle and his fellow Dunedin co-driver Darren Scott, are looking forward to the event “the marathon format will be completely new to us, and I plan to drive conservatively and hopefully pick up a good placing. It’s not a one day event, and I think many drivers will forget that and end up disappointed” he said.
The Auto Court Ltd sponsored Nissan will have plenty of parts to call on, and is not the only one in the field. Aucklander Rob Wylie has rebuilt the ex Tony Teesdale 1984 NZ Rally Championship winning 240RS, and Cottle told organisers “Wylie and I have had discussions about forming a Nissan Team for the event, along with the ex New Zealand Team Nissan Bluebird Turbo of Kaitangata’s Duncan McCrostie.”
The NZ Silver Fern Rally will start from the Picton waterfront, at midday on Saturday October 7th, before teams compete their way around the South Island with overnight stops in Greymouth, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch before returning via Nelson to the finish in Blenheim.
Event organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance of sponsors, Scenic Circle Hotels, Budget Rentals, Team Talk Mobile, Variety, and Kea Campers New Zealand.
Full details of the event, are available from www.silverfernrally.co.nz
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