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The Stephen Barker Motorsport team have finally had results go their way with the debut of their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 being a successful one on their home event, the Rally Whangarei.

Although now based in Hamilton, Barker grew up in Whangarei and the rally was also the home event for major sponsors Rintoul Civil and Bakerboys Wholesale Nursery so a good result was important for Barker and co-driver Brett Lightfoot.

A good morning learning the car on the fast and cambered Whangarei roads netted the team eleventh place in the New Zealand Rally Championship and third amongst the open class runners.

Changing from MRF to Dunlop tyres at the lunchtime service gave Barker a lot more grip and confidence and he immediately moved to setting top eight stage times all throughout the afternoon to finish the day third in the open class and eighth overall, a fantastic debut and a great recovery from a troubled start to the season.

The second day was an even better start, despite running a 32mm restrictor compared to his open class rivals 34mm, Barker was within 40 seconds of class leader Geoff Argyle at the halfway stage of day two.

Top five stage times throughout the afternoon were only interrupted by a 20 second penalty for jumping the start of the final stage. Unfortunately the penalty dropped Barker from fifth to seventh for the leg, although still third open class car. Mixed in with the day one result the team took sixth away from the weekend and have now moved up to third place in the open class, five points ahead of Andrew Hawkeswood.

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