Rotorua's Sloan Cox continues to show front running pace over the weekends Rally New Zealand run from Hampton Downs, however a series of problems put paid to any chances of a top 5 finish.

Nineteen-year-old Cox made a strong start to the second round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, recording the sixth fastest time on the opening 32 kilometre Te Akau North stage and backed that up with a strong fourth on special stage two, despite a knocking noise developing in the front of the car.

Another sixth on stage three and a spectacular show on the Hampton Downs super special stage meant Cox, along with sister Tarryn calling the notes, sat sixth heading into the lunch-time service and only 1.1 seconds behind fifth.

Disaster struck on the repeat of the Te Akau North stage when the Taslo Engineering Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X hit a rock and punctured. To rub salt in the wound, a simple two-minute tyre change became a ten minute ordeal when the jack broke.

With the front end knock, discovered at end of day service to be from stripped engine mount bolts, continuing to get worse, the pair backed off and ended the day 14th after another sideways show at Hampton Downs.

With a car restored to full health overnight, Cox set a pair of seventh fastest times before the infamous Whaanga Coast stage. Only a kilometre into the 29 kilometre test, the master cylinder for the clutch lost pressure and with Cox not having the advantage of a ‘dog’ box, he lost over two minutes. There were further problems in the stage when a wild cow crossed the road around a blind corner, with only Cox’s lightning reactions preventing a potentially rally ending collision.

With the crew unable to fix the problem, Cox struggled through the remaining stages, forced to take off from the start line on the starter motor. Despite this, he was happy to maintain seventh position for the day.

The Cox Motorsport team now turn their attention to round three of the New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Wairarapa, on May 28-29.

Press Release by BB Media

 


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