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The 2009 New Zealand Fiesta Sporting Trophy will once again run in conjunction with the New Zealand Rally Championship, kicking off this weekend with the Rally Hawkes Bay, attracting five top quality entries for the series opener.

Returning to defend his title is 2008 series champion, Patrick Malley. As well as contesting the New Zealand Series, Malley is gaining overseas experience competing in the British Fiesta Sport Trophy series, run in conjunction with the British Rally Championship.

Sure to be keeping Malley honest will be last years series runner up, Ben Jagger. The Northland teenager has benefited from testing with former World Rally Championship driver, Alister McRae, and is bound to have the bright green Seed Force Fiesta pushing for victory.

One of three Nelsonian’s new to the series is Ben Hunt. Hunt headed off eleven other talented youngsters in the Rally New Zealand Rising Stars Scholarship to take his place in the field.

Runner up at the same scholarship was 18 year old Daniel Harris. Harris showed his potential in last years Rally Xtreme series, showing great pace in his older Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3 against far more modern and expensive machinery.

The third young Nelsonian is 24 year old Dominick Unterburger, another to score highly in Rally NZ’s scholarship. Unterburger will campaign the car originally used by Pirelli Star Driver, Mark Tapper, to win the 2007 series.

The cars, as in the previous two years, are Ford Fiesta ST150 road cars fitted with a kit from M-Sport, the operation that runs the BP Abu Dhabi Ford World Rally Team. The kit includes a roll cage, 5-speed ’dog-box’, Reiger suspension and various other items to turn the car into a group N homologated rally car.

The winner of the series, and possibly a wildcard, will get the chance to contest the Fiesta Sporting Trophy International Shootout, the winner of which will earn a 12-month employment contract with the BP Abu Dhabi Ford World Rally Team.

Press Release by BB Media

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