Following his career-best third place in the latest round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship [APRC] - the International Rally of Whangarei - last month, Christchurch's Matt Jansen was really looking forward to finishing his 2011 rally season on a high at the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] at Rally Hawkes Bay this weekend - August 20 -21.
However the Polar Blast that has affected most of the country this week is wreaking havoc on the PMTMotorsport Team's preparation of the MITECH WELDERS Subaru and now is seriously disrupting their travel plans as they have spent the last 24 hours stuck in Picton waiting for the 5 Metre-plus swells in Cook Strait to abate sufficiently to enable some sort of normality to return to ferry sailings.
"We know we have had a tough year," said Matt, "ranging from earthquakes at home and work, getting to grips with a new car, having to work around the shortage of parts from Japan after their earthquake, learning the art of writing our own [pace] notes from scratch... And just when you think you've 'turned the corner', along comes the worst weather for almost two decades....
"So the new suspension parts we had ordered couldn't get through to Christchurch because of the freight holdups caused by the weather, and they are now being taken directly to Hawkes Bay from Auckland where, hopefully, the guys will get enough time to finish preparing the car...But first we have to get it across the strait.....and that is becoming a VERY frustrating and prolonged exercise....particularly when it's been such a nice sunny, calm day here in Picton, but out in the Strait...Well THAT'S another story.!!!....
"However, I do want to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our friends at Blue Bridge & Strait Shipping, who have been doing everything they can to get us across to Wellington as soon as possible.
"Currently, the most urgent part of all this is for me to get to the North Island - ideally with the recce car - so I can meet up with Jason [Co-Driver Jason Farmer, who lives in Huntly] so we can do the recce tomorrow [Friday], because there are a lot of new stages in this year's rally and it is vital that we have a quality set of [pace] notes, if we are to have any chance of repeating the 5th overall finish we achieved on our NZRC debut at this round back in 2009.
"So it's certainly not really the greatest way to prepare yourself. In fact, I think we are now on about version 12 of our travel plans. But this sport is always full of challenges, so, as long as the weather gods 'come to the party', we should still be on the 8am sailing [Thursday] and ultimately 'All Go' for tomorrow night's Ceremonial Start in Napier - Fingers crossed...........

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