Queenstown’s Mike Sheehan has topped a thrilling battle to take a class win at the latest round of the Mainland Rally Series, Rally Nelson, by the slender margin of just 2.3 seconds.

Sheehan teamed up with experienced co-driver Janey Blair for the event and was looking to replicate the Class B (1301-1600cc) win that came from the previous two starts. Although the event attracted a strong entry in the class, Sheehan was confident of a solid result.

The opening stage lived up to expectations with the top five cars separated by 10 seconds and Sheehan would record the third fastest time across the opening three stages. It was a second fastest time on stage four that would move him into the class lead by less than two seconds.

When rival Nick Marston had an off-road excursion, the battle for the win was between Sheehan in the Truck Moves Ford Fiesta R2 and the similar car of Robbie Stokes. Across the afternoon, the pair shared stage wins and heading into the days final stage, Stokes held a lead of just under three seconds.

Sheehan threw caution to the wind and set a time 5.2 seconds faster on the final stage to take a close fought victory, just 2.3 seconds ahead of Stokes.

“We had an awesome battle all day, it’s just fantastic when there are four or five guys battling hard. In the end we were lucky enough to come out on top, but we were swapping the lead and stage wins all the way, it was a real nail biter,” said Sheehan.

“It’s a great way to round out the mid point of the season and a good chance to say a massive thanks to all of our sponsors who make this possible.”

The Sheehans Motorsport team now turn their attention to the closest thing to a home rally, the Catlins Rally, on August 11.

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