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By winning last weekend’s opening round of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by Vinz, the Vinz International Rally of Whangarei, four times New Zealand Rally Champions Richard and Sara Mason have finally filled an annoying gap in their trophy cabinet.

Until now Whangarei has been the only major rally on the national championship (NZRC) calendar that they had not won. It has regularly ‘bitten them hard’, and more often than not at the most inopportune times.
 
“We have always had good pace up there and I do enjoy the roads, but we’ve been let down by silly little things in the past,” said Richard.
 
“The BNT Subaru was dynamic this weekend and we were able to drive at a pace that allowed us to feel we were always in control…That is until the centre diff failed halfway through Day One and we had brake problems at about the same point on Day Two.”
 
However a cautious approach in both instances by Richard and Sara ensured that the BNT Subaru arrived safely back into Service where the expert BNT Mason Motorsport Team carried out the necessary repairs.
 
The time lost by running at a reduced pace in those stages meant that the Masterton Flyers had to do just that - Fly through the remaining stages to regain as many places and NZRC points as possible.
 
With the BNT Subaru still running without a functioning centre diff, the Masons literally blew away their NZRC opposition on the final Power Stage – setting a time a full 35 seconds faster than anyone else, and narrowly missed taking maximum points for the round.
 
So New Zealand’s top rallying couple have started their pursuit of a history-making fifth national title - their major focus in 2014 – with a points haul just 2 short of a perfect result and now hold a significant lead in the six round series.
 
“We are over the moon with this weekend,” said Richard. “In spite of the issues we had, the Team did a fantastic job keeping us in the rally, the BNT Subaru is yet again proving to be a ‘rocket ship’ and we have come away with one of the best starts to the championship we have ever had.”
 
The NZRC resumes next month in Dunedin for the DriveSouth Rally of Otago over the weekend of May 10 and 11.

Photo: Geoff Ridder

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