Victory for Force Motorsport at Rally Coromandel
Force Motorsport have secured a superb result at the final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, with regular driver Andrew Hawkeswood coming home fifth while Australian Brendan Reeves took victory in the pair of Mazda 2 AP4+ cars.
Hawkeswood and co-driver Jeff Cress headed to the event sixth in the championship, but well and truly in the hunt for as high as second place in the first season running the newly developed AP4+ Mazda, while Reeves joined the team for a one-off event in the 2015-spec car. The pair made the perfect start, with Hawkeswood trailing only Reeves and co-driver Rhianon Gelsomino through the opening stage. The pair maintained their positions through stages two and three to enter the first service in a one-two formation.
While Reeves continued to dominate, a pair of poor tyre choices hindered Hawkeswood as he slipped back as far as seventh, before climbing back to fifth place heading to the final loop of stages.
With plenty to fight for and more suitable tyres for the job, Hawkeswood charged and crucially won the power stage, collecting five bonus points. In the end the fifth place and five bonus points would see Hawkeswood third in the championship, just one single point away from the runner-up spot.
There was no stopping Reeves however, who was able to cruise through the final loop of stages and with six stage wins, took a victory of more than a minute.
“Really, it’s been a pretty damn good weekend for us. It was a shame we messed up the tyre choice, it would’ve been awesome if we could’ve maintained the one-two, but Brendo put in an awesome drive and deserved the win for sure,” said Hawkeswood.
“To get third in the championship after so much work that our guys put in over the off-season to get these cars running is a credit to them, but I’m certainly hungry to be on the top step of that podium next year!”
The team now turns their attention to a busy off-season with another brand new Mazda 2 under construction in the chase for the 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship.