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This year’s first round of the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC) has seen Ralliart New Zealand’s team driver Eyvind Brynildsen finish in second place at his home Rally of Norway.
The 20-year old completed the three-day event using New Zealand expertise and equipment to head off a number of more recognised competitors to impress team principal Neil Allport in temperatures that dipped below -30 degrees Celsius.
“It was a very mature drive for him.  After the first day he had a lot of fast guys behind him and although he wasn’t really going to catch the experienced Patrik Sandell, he didn’t make a mistake the whole weekend – which sums up the potential of the guy.”
“It’s a great start to the season and really picks us up from where we left off in 2008,” added Allport.  “Getting eight points in your first round is very important.”
Dropping down the order on the opening day when he ended up stuck in a drain was a temporary set-back for the Norwegian.  Cresting a brow, evasive action to avoid crowded spectators lining the road side resulted in the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 steering for trees.
“It was either clean up people or some trees,” described Allport of the video footage later used to provide Brynildsen with evidence to incur an assessed time for the test.  “That returned him to his original position up the field after organisers gave him an assessed time.”
Contesting six rounds in the 2009 season, Brynildsen said the eight points earned was double reward to finishing on the podium:

“The last stage was so long I couldn’t wait for the finish! To be honest, I had a really small hope at midday today that if Patrik (Sandell) made another mistake on the long stage there was a slight chance I might be able to win but after that we lifted off a bit. We knew Patrik was going to be fast here and to finish behind him even feels like a victory. I’m very happy and very lucky to score my first podium on my home event, especially after all our bad luck last season.”
Covering 360km of snow bank lined roads with a hard icy surface; picture postcard scenery didn’t detract the 20-year old from setting two fastest stage times during his journey.
With currently 19 drivers entered to the six-round global series, the Ralliart New Zealand team return to the Northern Hemisphere for their second round of the season: Vodafone Rally de Portugal (2-5 April 2009).

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