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Northland pilot and part-time rally driver Kingsley Thompson is hoping the ‘X-factor’ will give him the edge when he debuts in the 2009 New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) next month.

Piloting a brand new Mitsubishi Evolution X rally car, a quantum leap from last seasons Evolution IV, Thompson is set to make his first NZRC appearance at the Rally of Hawkes Bay on April 4th.

Taking a big step up from regional competition and looking to build upon a string of solid results, the national championship newcomer is quietly confident about his chances and has the 2009 “Rookie of the Year” title squarely in his sights.

“It’ll be a tall order but we’re keen to prove we’ve got what it takes.  Speed and consistency are going to pretty crucial in achieving our objectives – to win you have to be fast but you also have to finish”.

Calling the notes and bringing NZRC experience to the team is co-pilot Richard Ellis.  Having sat with Thompson at the 2008 Rally of Hawkes Bay, where they placed 11th overall, Ellis believes the team dynamics and Thompson’s ability behind the wheel will make for a competitive season.  

“We’ve got the car, we’ve got the people, now we just need to get out there and do the business!”

And in a little over a weeks time the team will be able to do just that as the opening round of the competition looms.

In the meantime final preparations including some finishing touches at Ralliart NZ in Auckland and pre-season testing will keep the team busy ahead of the season opener.

Rally Hawkes Bay kicks off with an opening ceremony at 7pm on Friday 3rd April at the Sound-shell in Napier and covers 311km of gravel stages around the region on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of April.

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