Stokes leads Silver Fern Rally
- 17th October 2008, 8:34am
However, Stokes’ small 37 second margin could be in doubt, as he experienced gearbox problems at the end of the last stage of the day, and reports: “It sounds like fourth gear. We are flat out looking into what to do, but we should be able to get it fixed at service tonight.”
Currently in second place is Christchurch’s Jeff Judd and Greg Kennedy in their Ford Escort RS1800, with fellow Cantabrian’s Andrew Grundy and Mark Smith in their Mazda RX7 just 5 seconds behind Judd.
Holding down an excellent fourth place overall is the baby Honda Civic driven by Dave Strong, a further 16 seconds back. Strong began the day well and was up in second placing overall after three of the day’s six special stages.
Considering Strong lost his rally car and a lot of his team equipment in the huge Auckland fire at his Strong Bros car dismantling business, and has only just rebuilt his spare car, it’s an impressive performance. “We have to take advantage of the day’s fast stages as we don’t compete quite so well in the tight stuff,” he said.
Amongst those to strike problems on the first day of competition was Brian Green and Fleur Pedersen, whose Ford Escort WRCar came to a halt with a suspected cam-belt failure, a repeat of what put them out of the event in 2006. This time, however, parts are being flown down from Auckland and the team, led by Neil Allport, will attempt to repair the car overnight.
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