Podium finish for the Summerfields
Rally co-driver Nicole Summerfield reckons 'diamonds really are a girl's best friend' after scoring her best ever finishing position in Rally Otago, the traditional first round of the Brian Green Properties New Zealand Rally Championship.
For the past seven years Nicole and brother Matt have rallied Subaru Imprezas and failed to register a top placing in the Dunedin based event. This year however, a switch to the diamond-branded Mitsubishi Mirage has seen a change of fortune.
"Although we struggled a bit in our first event in the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi, this is by far our best ever result to start off a rally season. Gotta love the diamond!," said Nicole at the finish of the two-day rally.
Nicole has guided Matt through rallying's high-speed special stages since 2011, calling their pacenotes that help her brother drive the closed road in the fastest possible time. She is one of 13 female co-drivers registered in the national series.
After finishing runner-up in last year's championship in an out-dated Impreza, the pair switched to the new generation Mirage with the help of Ralliart and Andrew Simms Mitsubishi, a move the Summerfield's are delighted with.
"Even though there's still a lot to learn about driving this car, I'm excited for when I'm going to realise it's potential," said Matt.
"The Mirage is massively different to what I've been used to. Im adjusting my driving input, for example, for how fast the steering reacts. Just half the steering angle.
"There were no issues with the car, I just need more time in it.
"It's a bit like switching to a motorcross bike when you're used to a four-wheel golf cart!"
Third at Rally Otago has given the pair good championship points to begin their campaign with the new car. The next round of the championship is the International Rally of Whangarei in a fortnight.
Matt Summerfield 027 345 2929
Nicole Summerfield 027 424 5019