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A fourth New Zealander will contest this December’s Alpine Rally of East Gippsland, with super-fast South Islander Derek Ayson to drive a Ford Escort in the three-day event. A three-time Otago Classic Rally winner and the reigning Silver Fern Rally champion, Ayson will be paired with the experienced Andrew Graves on their first attempt at the rally. Derek AysonDerek Ayson will contest the Alpine Rally for the first time.Ayson, from Gore, south of Dunedin, will drive a Cosworth-powered Mk 2 Escort owned by Australian rally veteran Ed Mulligan, a car that should be well on the leading pace. The third Kiwi entered in the rally, Ayson joins another Otago and Silver Fern Rally winner, Deane Buist, Rossendale Wines boss, Brent Rawstron, and Shane Murland, all driving Escorts. Both Ayson and Buist have the speed to win the Alpine, although unfamiliarity with the roads, and a ‘blind’ route may hamper their chances. A capacity field will start the December 1-3 event, with 145 entries already being received for a possible 120 starting positions (see separate story HERE). Jack Monkhouse, Simon Evans, Ryan Smart, Stewart Reid, Ben Barker and Nathan Quinn are just some of the high profile names who’ll duke it out over three tough days of competition. To see the full list of 145 entries, click here. - Peter Whitten
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