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Lee Robson has made the best start to his season in the Rally Xtreme series with a pre-2000 four-wheel drive class win and top five outright finish on the opening event of the season, Rally Maramarua, last weekend.

Driving his Mitsubishi Evo 4, Robson immediately became involved in a battle for the XT1 class lead with Nigel Adams, the pair separated by just two seconds after the opening special stage.

Robson and co-driver Glenn Goldring continued to stay on the pace and still hold down a solid fifth overall in their older car, but drama threatened to ruin a good result when the clutch pedal went to the floor near the end of stage four.

After completing the stage, some quick roadside repairs enabled the Aucklander to tackle the next special stage before the service crew could work on the car. Despite having to pump the clutch throughout the stage, Robson dropped only 14 seconds to his rival and was able to get to service where his team were able to restore the car to full health, ironically after borrowing a part from Adams.
Robson took the class lead on the first stage after service when Adams retired and became involved in a battle later in the afternoon with the more modern Subaru of Robbie Leicester, but several strong stage times in the afternoon saw Robson hold on to fifth place by 10 seconds, with his nearest XT1 class competitor almost two and a half minutes behind.

“It was not ideal to take the class win with Nigel retiring after he leant us the part to keep us in the rally, but that’s rallying,” said Robson. “It was a day that reminds you why rallying is so enjoyable. The crew played a huge part and the notes between Goldie and I worked better than ever. A top result was really the icing on the cake.”

Robson now looks forward to the second round of the Xtreme series, Rally Hawkes Bay, on June 2.

Photo courtesy Calvin Goldring

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