The United States rally program of New Zealand Rally Champion, Andrew Hawkeswood, is on hold, and the Aucklander is unsure when his 2018 season will begin.
Hawkeswood told RallySport Magazine in January that he would contest several USA events in his Mazda2 AP4, as well as the full NZ Rally Championship.
But business pressures have temporarily brought those plans to a halt.
"I've had something come up business-wise that needs my attention for a while, so I have had to put the rallying to one side for the moment," Hawkeswood told RallySport Magazine.
His absence from the first round of the NZRC had seemingly opened the door for Australian driver, Brendan Reeves, to drive the Mazda2 AP4 in the Otago Rally, but that now seems unlikely.
"Brendo was going to do Otago, but it was going to take my focus off the business priorities," Hawkeswood added.
"The guys at the workshop are building a car for a U.S. customer, and we have a Mazda for ourselves ready to ship this week, but who will drive it and at what events is a bit up in the air at the moment.
"The team have been working on perfecting the 1600 SKYACTIV engine for the AP4 Mazdas, and have had a new inlet manifold cast.
"I'm gutted with the decision, but have to do some hard yards in the business.
"I'll be back later in the year, and Brendo will do something too," Hawkeswood said.
Despite his absence from the Otago Rally, a field of well over 120 entries is expected for the Dunedin based event, to run on April 14 and 15.
Brendan Reeves (left) is likely to contest some NZ Championship rounds in 2018. Photo: Geoff Ridder
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