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Christchurch’s Dylan Thomson will be chasing an international yard stick at the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the International Rally of Whangarei, being held this weekend. After a dominant display in the NZ Two-wheel drive class for front-wheel drive cars up to two litre at the opening round, Rally Otago, Thomson and co-driver Amy Hudson will see increased competition with the introduction of two of the higher specification ‘R2’ Fiestas in his class for the event. To add to the challenge, one of those cars will be driven by former national champion and current Junior World Rally Championship competitor David Holder. While Thomson is realistic that his pace shouldn’t match Holder’s, the 23-year old can use him as a yard stick. Last year at Whangarei Thomson was able to set some impressive times on his way to victory in his class and amongst the fastest two-wheel drive cars on some of the most demanding roads in New Zealand rallying. “Otago was cool, we had a couple of stage records that we really wanted to chase, but there’s nothing quite like a real yard stick to chase. "We understand the cars are around 1.5 seconds per kilometre faster, so I doubt we’d be able to overcome that deficit against someone like Dave, but we’ll get a really good idea where we are at,” says Thomson. “Last year was a good event, some of the conditions were pretty awful but we were able to fight through them and set some pretty good times. Hopefully we can continue to build on that like we did at the first round.” The International Rally of Whangarei kicks off with a ceremonial start from 5pm on Friday on the Te Matau a Pohe Bridge, immediately followed by two passes of the Pohe Island super special stage. Saturday morning sees eight special stages north of Whangarei totalling 150km, with Sunday seeing a further eight stages to the south to add another 125km to the route prior to the finish at the Whangarei town basin from 3pm.  
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