Today’s penultimate round of the 2013 Brian Green Property Group was won by husband and wife team Richard and Sara Mason of Masterton in a Subaru STi, heading off challenging competition across the 11 special stages of the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally.
Covering roads through Waikato’s Maramarua forest, the Hampton Downs and Pukekohe Park race circuits and a section of sealed road east of Auckland’s Papakura, the Masons had a winning margin of 2min07sec over Nelsons Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn (Subaru STi) in second place. Third was Rotorua’s Sloan Cox and Sarah Coatsworth, a further 14 seconds behind in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X.
The tenth anniversary of an event in memory of rally sport icon Possum Bourne, today’s route was especially poignant as it included the entire New Zealand championship field and first time competitor Taylor Bourne. Eldest son of the late Bourne he drove a Subaru STi prepared by the team that bears his father’s name. Bourne arrived at the finish with the same distinctive smile his father wore.
While predicted rain for the day only resulted in passing light showers the journey through the northern Waikato seemed it would trip some of the day’s 53 starters in to early retirement, typically for mechanical reasons. Able to avoid that fate the Mason’s won six of the day’s stages with the result moving them ahead of fellow competitor and former champion Neil Allport for outright wins in the New Zealand Rally Championship.
“It’s great to have a win again,” said Mason.” We had some significant issues this morning, from a major misfire in the engine for quite a while, no power steering at one stage and had to change the gearbox after losing third gear in the first special stage so to come out on top after taking all that in to consideration is just awesome. Rallying is like that. You can have some trouble, overcome it and can still come away with a result.
“Possum? He’d be jumping up and down right now if he were in our shoes – it is a great honour to win this event and in the same brand car he was so passionate about.”
Slipping to fourth in the day’s results after a myriad of mechanical challenges in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, Geraldine’s Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard return to the top of the championship points table. Of the six rounds being contested teams have to drop their worst result from the first five events. With Paddon being away for two of those today’s haul and a new total of 100 overtakes pre-round leader Ben Hunt, who now drops to third, behind the Masons.
Today’s battle for two-wheel-drive supremacy went to Christchurch’s Josh Marston and co-driver Mal Peden in their modern Ford Fiesta R2 specification car. Continuing their season long tit-for-tat battle with Tauranga’s Phil Campbell and Venita Fabbro in an identically prepared car the pair was separated by 7.4sec after the day’s 125.79km of competition. Campbell still holds the overall title lead.
Falling in behind the modern cars leading BNT Historic Rally competitor Marcus van Klink and co-driver Dave Neill got back to their winning form in their Mazda RX7. From Kaiapoi, van Klink held a slender 4.9sec lead over Christchurch’s Deane Buist and Andrew Pullman in a Ford Escort RS1800. Also with a day of niggly issues that included a spin on the opening stage, Christchurch’s Jeff Judd and Malcolm Read finished third in their Ford Escort RS1800 and continue to top the points table. Judd’s lead has narrowed to seven points.
Auckland’s Daniel Walker and co-driver Graham Browne topped the Gull Rally Challenge category in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 1 – trying to eat in to the insurmountable lead Graham Featherston accrued before switching to the top-tier.
Winning the coveted cash prize and bonus championship points in the top class Super Rally by Autofinance Direct category was Te Aroha’s Graham Featherstone and Chris Davison. Pipping the championship field by a mere 0.5sec around the Pukekohe race circuit in their Mitsubishi Evo 7 Featherstone gets first pick of a top-five road position for the final round.
There is now a four week break until the sixth and final round to decide the 2013 Goldstar champion and sub-category winners – being held in the Wairarapa on 5 October.
News and information about the championship – including driver profiles and team news – can be found on the website www.nzrallychampionship.co.nz, or follow New Zealand Rally Championship on Facebook.
Full points at: http://www.chrissport.co.nz/points/2013/nzrcpoints.htm
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