Run in fast and dry conditions, the Lone Star Canterbury Rally proved to have a high attrition rate, particularly amongst the top seeds.

“It’s been good fun,” commented Tall (Mitsubishi Mirage). “The car has been faultless which is really good.  Was surprised to be at the front as I was hoping to be in the top four or five.  That’s the way rallying is.”

It’s Tall’s maiden rally win after many years competing in South Island events and will be a popular victory amongst his competitors.

“The roads were good, a bit rough in places,” said Tall.  “Once we knew the attrition rate and that we were getting somewhere we drove cautiously down the middle of the road in a lot of stages.”

Second home was Sean Haggarty/Bella Haggarty (Subaru Impreza WRX) followed by Ari Pettigrew/Jack Norris (BMW318i) and Marcus Van Klink/Toby Marsh (Mazda RX7) in fourth.

The nine Special Stages in both the Ashley and Okuku Forests in North Canterbury plus a spectator friendly finale at the Euromarque Motorsport Park, Ruapuna, Christchurch claimed a total of 19 competitors retiring from the one-day event.

The first stage saw both top-seeds Dylan Thomson (Ford Fiesta ST150 2.3) (off-road) and Matt Summerfield (Subaru Impreza WRX) (mechanical) retire.  Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) pulled out after the second stage and then MRC points leader, Robbie Stokes/Sarah Brennan (Ford Fiesta AP4), ran into mechanical trouble, eventually retiring late in the rally.

“Bit of a shame the alternator packed a sad,” said Stokes.  “We know what was wrong.  The car is nearly at a point that it’s unbreakable so not quite where we want it.”

Despite Stokes’ retirement he still leads the overall championship, nine points ahead of van Klink who was the highest-placed MRC competitor to finish the Canterbury Rally.

As well as the overall leaderboard, there are seven separate MRC Class titles for both driver and co-drivers to be decided on the best five results from the six rounds making up the MRC.

Amy Keighley.

Mike Matheson (Toyota Vitz) continues to lead Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) from Pat Norris (Toyota Yaris).  Jack Stokes (Ford Fiesta R2) has a comfortable 16-point lead back to Harri Silcock (Toyota Stalet) in Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc).

With Dylan Thomson’s (Ford Fiesta Rally4) retirement and Deane Buist (Ford Escort) not competing in Round 3, Marcus van Klink takes the lead of Class C (2WD >1601cc) over William Hawes (Toyota 86) by one point.

Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta AP4) continues to lead Class D (4WD over Caleb MacDonald (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) who also did not finish.

Nigel Ede (Subaru Legacy RS) has increased his lead in Class E (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD) to 28 points while Ally Mackay, who finished sixth overall, has taken the lead in the Historic Class F with Stephen Gill (Ford Escort Mk2) retiring.  In the Subaru H6 Class, Amy Keighley has an eight-point lead over James Macdonald.

The fourth round of the calendar, the Wyndham Rally, takes place on 10 August 2024.

The 2024 Mainland Rally Championship has the support of RDL Performance, Brita Safety Ltd, Palmside NZ Ltd, Christchurch Building and Decorating Ltd, Thomson Rust and Repair Services Ltd, Rally Drive NZ.

Ally Mackay.

Lone Star Canterbury Rally Results

1/ Michael Tall/Matt Richards Mitsubishi Mirage

2/ Sean Haggarty/Bella Haggarty Subaru Impreza WRX

3/ Ari Pettigrew/Jack Norris BMW 318i

4/ Marcus Van Klink/Toby Marsh Mazda RX7

5/ Bryn Jones/Jared Hudson, Ford Fiesta Rally4

6/ Ally Mackay/Mikko Johnston Ford Escort Mk1

7/ Richie Chadwick/Rachel Chadwick Toyota Corolla

8/ Robert McCallum/Anna McCallum Ford Escort

9/ Lukas Ramsay/Hayden Graves Ford Fiesta R2

10/ Andrew Sim/Dave Neill Ford Escort Mk2

Overall Points after 3/6 Rounds (Top 10)

1/ Robbie Stokes 62

2/ Marcus Van Klink 53

3/ Caleb MacDonald 48

4/ Jack Stokes 43

5/ Ally Mackay 41

6= Deane Buist 40

6= Dylan Thomson 40

8/ Amy Keighley 35

9/ James Macdonald 32

10/ Andrew Graves 28

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