Kevin Corin


Matt & Nicole Summerfield scored top stage times at Whangarei in their Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Mirage


A broken shock absorber ended any chance Matt Summerfield had of trying to repeat his International Rally of Whangarei victory, but he did show the potential for his new Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Mirage to be at the front of the field.


Summerfield set the second-quickest stage times to this year's winner Hayden Paddon on three occasions, and salvaged enough points to come away third in the New Zealand Rally Championship after two rounds.


The blow to Summerfield's rally came in the fourth special stage when one of the Mirage's shock absorbers broke in half. Forced to drive slowly through two stages before reaching service and repair cost valuable time.


Matt and his co-driving sister Nicole entered Stage 5 in fourth place, but limped out in 44th.


"We must have hit a hole, or a mound, I certainly didn't see anything," said Matt. "We were very lucky to make it back to the service area."


Summerfield's service crew replaced the shock absorbers with borrowed Mitsubishi Evo 8 units, and although the spring rates were completely wrong for the Mirage, at least they were back in the rally. 


"We changed the springs again on Saturday night, and while they were better on Sunday, the car still wasn't right. To put up some of the [stage] times we did on Sunday shows how fast the car can be."


The pair climbed back to 16th by the finish, and were pleased to have some more competition mileage behind them.


"Every time I drive the car I'm gaining more experience and the speed is coming. It'll be nice to get the car back home now and ready for our home rally," Matt added.


The Canterbury Rally is based in their hometown of Rangiora and will be held over Queens Birthday weekend.


Calendar 2018 Brian Green properties NZ Rally Championship:  

13-15 April,  Rally Otago

4-5 May,  International Rally of Whangarei

3 June, Canterbury Rally

23 June, South Canterbury Rally

18 August, Rally of Coromandel

12-14 October, Rally New Zealand



Matt Summerfield  027 345 2929

Nicole Summerfield  027 424 5019