Australia's top international rally duo, Brendan Reeves and Rhianon Smyth, will return to one of their favourite events this weekend when they tackle New Zealand's Rally Whangarei.  The event is round 4 of the hotly contested Asia Pacific Rally Championship and will provide some tough competition for the brother and sister rally team.

After competing in the event for the past three years with excellent results, Reeves heads into the event with cautious optimism.  For the fourth year running he will drive a different car in the rally, this time a leased Mitsubishi Evo IX owned by two-time Kiwi champ, Hayden Paddon.  Despite never having driven a Mitsubishi in competition before, Reeves has had a couple of short tests in the car this week leading up to the event and is confident he has the set-up right.

"We did a 50 km shakedown earlier this week to get a feel for the car for the first time," Reeves said. "It took a few runs to get the right feeling of the Evo as it had a lot more initial understeer than my Subaru, but after giving it a bit more of a sideways set up into the corner, it is now more suited to my driving style."

Whilst an outright victory would be nice, it's not the priority of Reeves and Smyth this weekend.  The pair are using the event to prepare themselves for their next major event, Rally Finland, which takes place in a fortnight's time.  The Australians are competing in this year's World Rally Championship (WRC) Academy, a six-round one-make series in Europe.  With two events completed, Reeves and Smyth are currently in third place, just two points behind second.

"The roads used in Rally Whangarei are fast and flowing, similar to what we expect in Finland," Reeves said.  "I've really enjoyed competing in Whangarei the last few years so it is the perfect event to fine tune our driving and pace notes before we head to Finland."

Rally Whangarei gets underway this afternoon with a Ceremonial Start in the northern New Zealand city followed by the rally stages to be run on Saturday and Sunday.

Visit Brendan Reeves' website to follow his progress over the weekend.

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