Christchurch’s Marcus van Klink would eventually retire from the Lone Star Rally Canterbury, the third round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, but not before setting some encouraging stage times in treacherous conditions.

Heading into his home event, van Klink was unsure how the powerful Buteline-backed triple rotor Mazda RX8 would handle the slippery conditions on the rain-soaked forestry roads. However after finishing the first stage, he was surprised to be not only the fastest two-wheel drive car, but eighth overall.

The times would continue to be impressive with van Klink hovering around the top ten and engaging in a battle with great mate Regan Ross, the pair never separated by more than ten seconds across the first half of the rally.

Unfortunately a great run that included heading off front running four-wheel drive cars would come to an end in special stage six. A transmission failure seized the rear wheels solid, meaning he and co-driver Dave Neill would have no choice but to retire.

“The conditions were something else, it was so slippery in the first stage and I really thought we were going to get an absolute towelling, so to find out we were right on the pace was a very pleasant surprise,” said van Klink.

“In the end, something broke and it locked the car solid, which not only ended the rally but to add insult to injury, made it really tricky to get the car on the trailer.”

Despite a no score at Canterbury, van Klink still leads the Gull Rally Challenge two-wheel drive class but has slipped to fourth in the overall class as he heads to round four of the series, the South Canterbury Rally, on June 23.

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