Tapper leads Fiesta charge at Otago
- 18th April 2007, 10:32am
Auckland's Mark Tapper and Jeff Cress have put their hands up as the people to beat in this years inaugural NZ Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy Series.
Tapper and Cress dominated both legs of the opening round of the series, run in conjunction with NZ Rally Championship, the Otago Rally which saw a 100% finish rate for all four of the cars competing in the NZ Ford Fiesta Sporting Trophy Series.
Day one was cold and wet, with Tapper setting the early pace followed by Chris Lange/ Malcolm Peden and Kayne Barrie/Jayson Stringer, with Dermott & Linzi Malley just taking a while to get settled into their new car. By the first service on the shores of Lake Waihola, Tapper’s lead was already out to 42 seconds over Lange with Barrie a further 17 seconds behind.
Despite this comfortable buffer and the cancellation of stage 4, after the day’s final stage around the streets of Dunedin, Tapper had extended his lead to give a winning margin for the first leg of 1 minute 35.5 seconds over Lange with Barrie 3rd a further 38.3 seconds back. Dermott Malley rounded out the Fiesta field, a touch over 3 minutes behind Barrie.
Day two did not change the result out front, however a few changes to the suspension set up by Barrie and a small off by Lange allowed Barrie to finish a comfortable second to Tapper in the second leg, 1 minute 57.1 seconds behind the flying Aucklander but 28.2 seconds in front of third placed Lange.
Dermott Malley was fourth, however he was getting closer to the pace of the front runners as the rally progressed, learning more about the car with more mileage under his belt. The buffer Lange had built over Barrie the previous day was enough to hold Barrie out by just 10.1 seconds, giving Lange the extra bonus point for the round.
After Round one of the Fiesta Sporting trophy, the points are as follows:
Mark Tapper 67
Chris Lange 52
Kayne Barrie 51
Dermott Malley 40
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