|3 days ago||Hayden and JK at Rally di Alba this weekend - Results here|
|1 week ago||Paddon wins South Canterbury Rally before return to Europe|
|8 days ago||Paddon triumphs in South Canterbury|
|9 days ago||SVG enters the Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally - Saturday July 2nd|
|Rally South Canterbury: Start List for Leg 1 published|
|11 days ago||Van Gisbergen enters Repco Rally New Zealand as tickets on sale|
|South Canterbury Rally offers Paddon valuable prep for Europe|
|13 days ago||Far North Rally published|
|Rally South Canterbury entries published|
|2 weeks ago||Toyota Gazoo Racing joins Repco Rally New Zealand as Jack’s Ridge announced as the Power Stage venue|
Hayden and John begin their 2022 European campaign this weekend at the tarmac Rally di Alba in Italy.
They are Car 21 and lead the TER part of the 100 car Entry List.
Friday Night (3am Saturday Morning NZ Time) is the 2.29k long Power Stage and makes up Leg 1.
Leg 2 comprises 8 stages and starts at 6pm NZ Time on Saturday evening with the final stage due to start at 4am NZ Time on Sunday morning.
There are 4 separate stages all around 14k long that will run in the morning and will be repeated in the afternoon local time.
Results can be accessed via e-wrc results on the following link here
Hayden Paddon, with brand-new co-driver Jaren Hudson alongside, has won the one-day South Canterbury Rally to maintain his lead in the New Zealand Rally Championship before he departs for four events in Europe over the next two months.
Paddon and Hudson, from Cromwell and Christchurch respectively, dominated the field as they contested nine special stages and 148 competitive kilometres of Rally South Canterbury which headed south for stages around Waimate in the morning, then north of Timaru in the afternoon before wrapping up at Levels Raceway.
With nine stage wins and maximum NZRC points in the bank to count towards missing the next NZRC round in Hawke’s Bay, Paddon’s final winning margin was four minutes, 20.1 seconds over former NZRC champion Ben Hunt in second place.
Paddon paid credit to his Hyundai New Zealand Rally team who got the Hyundai i20 AP4 car successfully to the finish, despite a small overheating issue which they managed throughout the day.
Paddon was also impressed with 18 year old Hudson’s performance in the co-driver’s seat. The team had planned a test last weekend where Hudson was to have joined Paddon, but this had to be cancelled due to snow around Central Otago. This made Hudson’s performance even more significant with Paddon commenting on Hudson’s growing confidence as the day progressed.
Having done all he could with his 2022 NZRC campaign, Paddon now heads to Europe where he’ll meet up with regular co-driver John Kennard to compete in a Tour European Rally (TER) event, Rally di Alba in Italy, on 24 and 25 June. The pair will be in a Hyundai i20 R5 car run by Hyundai Motorsport Italy (HMI) for what will be Paddon’s first tarmac rally in five years.
With no expectations, Paddon says this first rally back in Europe is about enjoying himself and making the most of the seat time.
Some of the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team join Paddon and Kennard in Europe soon after Rally di Alba as they prepare for the Latvian ERC event, Rally Leipaja running 1-3 July, in the Hyundai i20 Rally2 car. The Kiwi engineers and technicians will take a major role in learning and running the car for Paddon. Various team members rotate between New Zealand and Europe as they head onto the first WRC2 event in Estonia, 14-17 July, then Finland for another WRC2 round, 4-7 August. The next event will be Rally New Zealand running 29 September – 2 October where they’ll look to wrap up their NZRC title.
“Everything went reasonably well in South Canterbury. The stages were really fast, a couple faster than we’d normally expect there, mixed in with some traditional stages. We were managing a bit of a problem with the car overheating, but we were able to get to the end for the win which was our goal. The team did a great job, as always.
“The fast roads around Timaru offered some important preparation for the events in Latvia, Estonia and Finland because those three are all fast gravel rallies. They flow into one another quite nicely, so it’s been good to get into that mindset this weekend.
“Jared did an amazing job, especially being thrown in the deep end after our planned test last weekend was snowed out. He did a phenomenal job, growing with confidence as the day progressed. Better than I expected actually, given the circumstances, so I was very impressed with the job he did.”
Looking ahead to Rally di Alba, Paddon says: “We’re going there for mileage with no expectations; it’s just a way to kickstart our European campaign. I also have a role as ambassador for the TER championship so competing in this rally allows us time in the seat, to go and enjoy ourselves. I drove an R5 back in 2017 at San Remo and haven’t done a tarmac rally in five years so have no idea where we are in relation to the rest of the field. “I’m certainly excited to be heading to Europe this coming week. The whole team is excited, to be honest, as there’s been a ton of work to get us back to the other side of the world. I can’t wait to get into it.”
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO and Provident Insurance.
Keep up with news on Hayden Paddon and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.
Hayden Paddon has completed a third successive victory in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship and has taken care of what he can control before heading off overseas.
The ex-WRC rally winner has maximum points after taking victory by over four minutes in his Hyundai New Zealand i20AP4 at the Stadium Finance South Canterbury Rally on Saturday.
Alongside stand-in co-driver Jared Hudson, who becomes the youngest round winner in NZRC history, Paddon has done all he can do before heading off to Europe to start his international campaign.
He led home Ben Hunt (Skoda NZ Fabia R5), who had to work hard on the final two stages after his buffer was erased with a puncture on stage seven.
Hunt did enough to hold off Matt Summerfield (Mitsubishi Mirage AP4) and Ari Pettigrew (Manukau Auto Centre Holden Barina AP4) to give his title chances a significant boost.
Summerfield was awarded the Dunlop Drive of the Rally after his first podium finish of the season while Pettigrew kept his title chances alive with a second successive podium.
Phil Campbell drove a sensible rally to secure fifth in the Roofing Store Ford Fiesta AP4, which keeps him well in the championship battle, while Jack Hawkeswood grabbed sixth in the Toyota Gazoo NZ Yaris AP4.
Glenn Inkster battled back after a slow start to record a solid seventh in his Force Motorsport Mazda AP4 while Andy Martin was delighted with eighth on debut in the Volkswagen Polo R5.
Raana Horan suffered two punctures to ruin his rally as he debuted his new Generator Rental Services Skoda Rally2 evo but he did manage to finish just outside the top 10.
Josh Marston (RDL Holden Barina AP4) also suffered from a costly puncture and then a late mechanical failure at Levels Raceway while Robbie Stokes had a forgettable rally as he suffered mechanical dramas in his Team Hutchinson Ford Fiesta AP4 before rolling the car later in the afternoon.
Marcus van Klink celebrated his return to the championship by claiming first overall 2WD in his Mazda RX8 while Jeff Ward (Subaru Impreza) was the Rally Challenge 4WD winner. Ward led home Sean Haggarty (Subaru) and Paul Cross (Subaru) in the class.
Jordan Grant snared a break-through class win in the NZRC Group N 2WD category and secured an impressive second overall 2WD result as well in his Suzuki Swift.
Charlie Evans (Honda Civic) edged Dylan Thomson (Ford Fiesta) in the battle for second in the NZRC 2WD).
Jonty Brenssell was third overall 2WD and claimed a comfortable win in the Rally Challenge 2WD class.
John Silcock was the sole finisher in the Historic 2WD class after championship rivals Anthony Jones and Shane Murland suffered problems early in the day.
The championship heads back to the North Island next month with Rally Hawke’s Bay on Saturday July 23rd where Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen is expected to make his NZRC debut as part of his buildup to starting in the WRC REPCO Rally New Zealand at the end of September.
Not content with his considerable lead in the 2022 Repco Supercars Championship, nor his fifth in class finish at the Le Mans 24 Hour race just last weekend, 2020 Bathurst winner Shane van Gisbergen (SvG) has announced he is entering the Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally.
This is not SvG’s first time on the gravel. He finished 15th overall and first two-wheel drive at the City of Auckland Rally in 2020 driving his father’s Ford Escort and followed up the next day by winning the inaugural Battle of Jack’s Ridge in the Ralliart NZ Mitsubishi Mirage AP4. An astonishing 2nd overall at the National Capital Rally in Australia earlier this year was Shane’s first rally in the Race Torque Skoda Fabia R5 that he will be driving at Far North Rally on July 2nd.
These successes have rekindled a strong interest in rallying that developed in his early years watching his father Robert (Cheese), an accomplished rally driver in his own right. SvG is using this rally as a chance to get more comfortable in the Skoda and improve his rally communications process with Australian co-driver Glen Weston. The Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally regulations do not allow reconnaissance but uses pre-prepared computer-generated safety notes that give crews information on every corner and straight along the 150 kilometres of special stages.
The Far North Rally will no doubt help van Gisbergen to prepare for his WRC debut at Repco Rally New Zealand starting 29th September in Auckland.
The Supercars Champ is taking his familiar laid-back approach into his NZ campaign.
“I’m fizzing”, van Gisbergen said, “I loved the Auckland Rally a couple of years ago and the chance to shakedown this car and get more seat time before Repco Rally NZ is too good to turn down. The Skoda is due in New Zealand any minute now and, although we have limited preparation time, I’m ready to go and excited about this opportunity to increase my gravel experience. I have heard the heavily cambered roads are some of the best in the country. So yes – this will be exciting.”
Far North Rally Chairman, Bob Mitchell said “This is a real coup for the Copthorne Bay of Islands Far North Rally. Having someone of Shane’s mana entering our event is great news for the organising team, our sponsors, competitors, and spectators. We were expecting the rally to be really positive for the Far North. The interest generated locally and internationally with the addition of Shane to the entry list will bolster this.”
So why would an international star in multiple motorsport disciplines want to travel 14,000 kilometres from Le Mans to Darwin then another 5,000 kilometres to Paihia in the space of just a month?
Van Gisbergen sums it up in just four words… “I think I’m hooked”
Celebrated New Zealand driver, Shane van Gisbergen, current leader in the Supercars Championship, has confirmed he will start in the Repco Rally New Zealand on 29 September to 2 October in and around Auckland.
The 33-year-old, two-time Supercars champion and 2020 Bathurst winner, has tried his hand successfully at a range of motorsports, including winning the Battle of Jack’s Ridge rally sprint last year, and finishing top-five in his class at his first attempt at the famed Le Mans 24 Hour Race at the weekend.
He is amped to be part the FIA World Rally Championship event with tickets going on sale today for Repco Rally New Zealand which will feature the best rally drivers on the globe including New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon and van Gisbergen, who will both race in the WRC2 category.
Tickets for spectator zones throughout the rally are now on sale. Rally New Zealand has offered a multi-stage access ticket for $35 per day for Friday and Saturday. The final day of the rally will be at the remarkable Jack’s Ridge venue in Whitford with tickets from $59 which includes entry to the power stage and car parking adjacent to the venue.
Further options are available at Jack’s Ridge including the Gold Pass zone ($99) or VIP hospitality tickets ($300+GST). Further details around spectator points and the itinerary will be released in the coming weeks. Limited Gold Passes are on sale providing premium spectating throughout the four days of the event along with unique Gold Pass merchandise.
Repco Rally New Zealand organisers believe the remarkable spectating at Jack’s Ridge which offers a full day of rally action culminating in the thrilling finale promises to be world-class sporting experience. With tickets limited and on the back of a sold out Battle of Jack’s Ridge event in 2020 fans are encouraged to get in quickly before tickets are sold out. Repco Rally New Zealand is a family-friendly event with kids 12 and under free and half-price tickets for those aged 13 to 18 years.
Van Gisbergen said that it was his childhood memories of Rally New Zealand that has led to his involvement. “I’ve been around it a long time and going to all the rallies when I was young watching Rally New Zealand. It has always been a dream to do it but I’ve never really had the chance. “My favourite memories were as a young kid. Before the Manukau Super Stage was built, they had it up the road at Totara Park which was not far from where I grew up.
It was in the early 90s and it was at night. I remember being on dad’s shoulders watching the cars go through there.” Van Gisbergen said his father competed and with the advantage of local knowledge, especially in the regularly wet conditions, he was faster than the WRC cars- - until they struck a dry year and his luck also dried up. “For me it’s cool that I will be on the other side of the fence."
He will be supported by Perth-based Race Torque, run by two ex-pat New Zealanders with plenty of experience in rallying, along with his co-driver, former Australian champion Brisbane based Glen Weston.
Van Gisbergen competed in the opening round of the Australian Rally Championship earlier this year in Canberra which rekindled his interest, and he plans to bring his car to New Zealand in advance of Repco Rally New Zealand, potentially to drive in Rally Hawkes Bay.
But he is not putting undue pressure on himself.
“I need to get used to pace notes, how to read the New Zealand roads and just get better. Pace notes are where most of the speed is for me.
“I do not have any expectations for results. For me just competing in the event is going to be epic, to see the stages packed with fans, and having the service park on the Auckland waterfront, it is just going to be an awesome event.
“I am looking forward to being part of it. I just want to do a good job and keep it straight, be there at the end and be part of this incredible event.”
For ticket information go to www.rallynewzealand.com
Friday: $35 + Parking per day accesses all Spectator Points (itinerary to be announced)
Saturday: $35 + Parking per day accesses all Spectator Points (itinerary to be announced)
Sunday: From $59 (includes parking)
Gold Pass tickets: $195 includes exclusive access to Shakedown, Priority Viewing at SSS1 (tba), Friday stages including Priority Gold Pass Parking, Saturday stages including Priority Gold Pass Parking, Jack’s Ridge Wolf Power Stage including Gold Pass Spectating Area and Priority Gold Pass Parking, Gold Pass official merchandise.
The one-day South Canterbury Rally, running 18 June near Timaru, offers Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon more competitive kilometres behind the wheel as he readies for his return to European rallying later this month.
Paddon is ready for the challenge this rally presents, saying it’s the fastest event of the New Zealand Rally Championship, essentially a sprint from start to finish where power and speed are vital for success. He’ll be counting on the great handling of the Hyundai i20 AP4 to aid his performance, acknowledging that the engine package is not the strongest in the competitive NZRC field.
It’s another useful opportunity for the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team to further refine their on-event processes before their European campaign.
Young Kiwi co-driver Jared Hudson, from Christchurch, has been offered the co-driver’s seat with Paddon’s regular co-driver John Kennard already in Europe ahead of their first European event in more than two years when they’ll contest Rally di Alba in Italy on 24 and 25 June. Next up will be the Latvian ERC event, Rally Leipaja running 1-3 July, in their brand new Hyundai i20 Rally2 car, then the first WRC2 event in Estonia, 14-17 July, and on to Finland for another WRC2 round, 4-7 August.
Paddon has a rotating roster of his Cromwell-based team accompanying him overseas so his engineers and technicians can also gain experience of European rallying before next year’s bid to win the FIA World Rally2 Championship.
Paddon’s quotes: “We expect much closer competition in Timaru, but we are prepared for that and have a few things up our sleeve. Even though it’s where I grew up and where I competed in my first ever rally, it’s our weakest event in terms of performance due to the outright speed of these roads. Our engine package is not the strongest out there, but we’ll try and make up time in the places where we know we can, that is in the corners, thanks to the Hyundai’s great handling package.
“With John already being in Europe ready to start our European campaign, it was a chance for us to help the next generation of co-drivers so I’m looking forward to a good weekend with Jared Hudson in the co-driver’s seat. John has been helping Jared with his development as a co-driver for some time so it’s a good fit to offer Jared this opportunity.
“The Timaru rally offers me valuable seat-time before our first event back in Europe which is the first of four events in seven weeks so we’re all really excited for this busy period of competition in Europe. Half our team from New Zealand will join me and John in Italy, then we’ve got a rotation process for the others for more international events later in the year to make sure everyone is a part of the journey.”
Going into this third NZRC Round Paddon tops the points-table, and now he’ll miss the fourth round in Hawke’s Bay which takes place when he’s in Europe, his goal is firmly to secure another win and maximum points in Timaru.
Of note, following the International Rally of Whangarei, Paddon achieved a new milestone, overtaking five-time NZRC champion Richard Mason as the driver with the most-ever event wins. The Whangarei win was Paddon’s 29th. Co-driver John Kennard also marked a milestone as the winningest co-driver in NZRC history with 26 event wins, moving clear of Sara Mason. Paddon is particularly proud of the team’s achievement with the Hyundai i20 AP4 now the most successful rally car in the 45-year history of the NZRC with 14 round wins.
Once again, Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally are running the Paddon Project to support a deserving local in the regions where the NZRC events are held. Thanks to the support of Paddon’s official partners, deserving locals in South Canterbury will share a prize pack including $2000 cash, a $500 Mitre 10 voucher and more. More information on the Paddon Project is available here - https://paddonrallysport.co.nz/paddons-project/ and the winners are shared on the team’s Facebook page.
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service and Provident Insurance.
The manufacturer of the leading team in the 2022 World Rally Championship, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s (TGR) local arm have today announced they are the latest elite sponsor to get behind Repco Rally New Zealand, to be staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2nd October.
TGR and Toyota globally have supported motorsport for over 60 years through all manner of motorsport including the WRC with the GR Yaris, WEC, Dakar Rally and other domestic championships.
Locally, TGR supports up-and-coming kiwi drivers to elevate them on the world stage through their local motorsport activity – Castrol Toyota Racing Series and the Toyota 86 Championship. The Castrol Toyota Racing Series has produced 20 drivers that have gone on to Formula One.
“We are excited to be sponsoring the 2022 Repco Rally New Zealand and welcome WRC back to New Zealand shores after ten years,” says Andrew Davis, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing New Zealand General Manager. “TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s brand is about performance, passion, and innovation so we are excited to extend this into the rally world.”
TGR’s support of Repco Rally New Zealand comes after their recent partnership with Jack Hawkeswood who is competing in the New Zealand rally championship and Repco Rally New Zealand in a Toyota GR Yaris with support from TOYOTA GAZOO Racing NZ.
Repco Rally New Zealand CEO, Michael Goldstein said the event was thrilled to have the support from TGR.
“Toyota are a renowned global brand that has supported motorsport for decades and the TGR vision to help develop emerging kiwi talent resonates with our event on many levels.“They are part-and-parcel of rally globally and a household name, not just in motorsport in this country, but in the every-day lives of New Zealanders.”
It is in Jack Hawkeswood’s backyard that Repco Rally New Zealand today have also announced that the historic return of the World Rally Championship to New Zealand will culminate with the Jack’s Ridge Power Stage.
The Jack’s Ridge venue, in Whitford on the outskirts of Auckland, will play host to the final day of the Repco Rally New Zealand with the road now transformed into a testing 6.5km stage to be used for multiple stages on the final day of the rally, culminating in the Wolf Power Stage.
“This is a purpose-built rally venue and will put Repco Rally New Zealand on the global map,” said Goldstein.
“We couldn’t dream of a better Power Stage venue. Jack’s Ridge is only 30 minutes from downtown Auckland and has been created to ensure the best possible fan experience for the estimated 12,000 fans set to experience this world class rally experience.
“The stage will feature a number of exhilarating jumps, technical corners and a huge variety of different spectator areas. We are hugely grateful to the Hawkeswood family for everything they have done to create this iconic venue for rallying in New Zealand."
Sunday 2 October will feature a full day of racing at Jack’s Ridge leading into the deciding Wolf Power Stage to be held within a broadcast window from 3 – 430pm, during which the winner of Repco Rally New Zealand will be crowned.
Tickets for the Repco Rally New Zealand go on sale this Wednesday at www.rallynewzealand.com
Christchurch’s Josh Marston and co-driver Andrew Graves have won the Lone Star Rally of Canterbury and have now taken the overall lead in the seven-round 2022 Mainland Rally Championship. The pairing won six of the seven Special Stages on Sunday in the Okuku and Ashley Forests, after last year’s winner, Robbie Stokes, retired with a mechanical problem just after winning the opening first stage.
“Absolutely stoked, it’s been a really good day,” commented Marston. “That was tough for Robbie (Stokes) to have issues at the start of the second stage.
It feels like we were able to push on really well and the car has also been really good. I’ve got to thank the whole team, its been a brilliant effort.”
Held in cool and dry conditions with fast forest gravel roads, the third round of the Mainland Rally Series saw a shakeup of both the overall and Class categories. With Stoke's early retirement and a non-start by NZ Rally Championship rival Jack Hawkeswood (Toyota Vitz AP4), it was Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield (Subaru Impreza) that finished second ahead of David Quantock/Emma Quantock (Skoda AP4).
Fourth was Deane Buist/Karl Celeste (Ford Fiesta) with John Giltrap/Sarah Faulkner (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) in fifth. “It’s good to get to the end,” said Summerfield.
“It’s been an enjoyable day with no major dramas, so it’s been good to get some seat time in and at home as well.” Heading into the rally, overall series leader was Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza Sti) who, for most of the rally set third fastest stage times behind Marston and Summerfiled before dropping to finish seventh overall.
“The day has been real good, apart from a flat tyre,” said Casey.
“We were third overall then dropped down to ninth then we have made up a few places so to finish in the top ten is pretty cool.”
Autotech Services, RDL Performance and Brita Safety have put up cash prizes for each Class winner at the end of the Mainland Rally Championship season.
$500, $250 and $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively for each class as well as trophies for all classes and overall, for both driver and co- driver. Vehicles are divided up into seven different classes according to engine size, year of manufacturer and two or four-wheel drive.
Continuing to lead Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) is Jay Ritchie (Toyota Starlet) from Pat Norris (Toyota Vitz) and Chris Herdman (Toyota Starlet).
David Birkett (Toyota Levin) was first home in Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc) reducing William Hawes’ (Toyota Corolla) lead to four-points with Kerry Sloan(Toyota Starlet) in third.
Deane Buist (Ford Fiesta) takes over the lead in Class C (2WD 1601cc and over) ahead of Peter Bowden (Ford Escort) and Marcus van Klink who missed the round. Marston also takes over the lead in Class D (4WD 1601cc and over) from Casey with John Giltrap (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) moving into third ahead of Sean Haggarty (Subaru Impreza).
Nigel Ede (Subaru Legacy) takes over the lead in (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD) from Shane McKenzie (Mitsubishi VR4) and Mike Baltrop (Subaru Impreza).
Regan Ross (Ford Escort) was first home in the Classic Class F & G.
With Jeff Judd switching from a Ford Escort to a Subaru H6, Tim McIver (Ford Escort) has moved into the lead of the class from Ally MacKay (Ford Escort Mk1).
Judd now drops to third equal with David Owen (Ford Escort).
Nick Marston’s (Subaru H6) early retirement from the event sees Amy Keighly (Subaru H6) take over the lead in Class H6 from Tom Mililiken (Subaru H6).
Drivers and teams now have a quick turn around with the fourth round, the Rally of South Canterbury, taking place in less than a fortnight on Saturday 18 June.
Event-long leaders Cameron Ross and Matthew Buer (Subaru Impreza Sti) have won the latest Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally which concluded in the Hawke’s Bay on Sunday, 29 May 2022.
The five-day ‘main Targa’ event, which celebrated its 25th anniversay in 2019, has – up until 2020 – been held annually in late October. For the past two years, however, it has fallen foul of the COVID-19 pandemic, being cancelled outright in 2020 then postponed (until this month) in 2021.
For this reason, the event which started in New Plymouth on the North Island’s West Coast last Wednesday (May 25, 2022) and concluded in Havelock North on the Island’s East Coast on Sunday May 29, 2022, has always been referred to – and will go down in the annals of Targa NZ history - as, the 2021 (rather than the 2022) one.
While the big story of the event was definitely the win – by an eventual margin of 1 min.46.9 secs – by Cameron Ross from Wellington, and co-driving mate Matthew Buer from Tauranga in Ross’s locally prepared, late-model Subaru Impreza WRX STI, there were any number of interesting side stories.
Chief amongst these was the pitched late-event battle for the runner-up spot, only resolved in favour of the 4WD VW Polo R of Auckland-based event veteran Jason Gill and co-driver Nicole Summerfield over the event’s top 2WD vehicle, the Porsche 991GT3 RS of 2013 event winner Martin Dippie and his co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin, on the penultimate stage.
In saying that the drama started from early on the first day (Wednesday May 25) when one of the pre-event favourites, and emphatic winner of the first stage, Leigh Hopper from Whitianga and co-driver Michael Goudie (Auckland), were forced to stop in just the second timed stage to try and sort out a serious engine overheating issue with Hopper’s own earlier model Subaru Impreza WRX.
Ross and Buer - in turn - found themselves under intense pressure from the virtually identical late-model Subaru Impreza WRX STI of young gun Rory Callaway from Christchurch and his Raglan-based co-driver Samantha Gray, the time difference between the two a barely measurable 0.0.5 of a second at the end first day, and just 3.9 seconds at the end of the second.
However, in one of the most dramatic turns in the event’s 26 history, by simply making it through to the end of the first stage of the day on the third day Ross and Buer - literally – found themselves the last of three front-running Subaru 4WD crews standing……… and with a lead they would never lose.
First to the stumble and fall were Rory Callaway and Samantha Gray, their distinctive all-white Subaru Impreza leaving the road just 5km into the 20.78km Mt Egmont stage.
Leigh Hopper and Michael Goudie made it a little further – 13.6km – before they too ended their event with a car-bending trip off the road.
And so, just like that, the complexion of the event changed. By deftly avoiding most of the Day 3 hubris that hit other competitors Ross and Buer not only ended the day with their event lead intact, that lead – now over Dunedin pair Martin Dippie and Jona Grant (Porche 991 GT3 RS - was able to be measured in minutes (3:2.0 to be exact) rather than the fractions of a second (0:00.5) as was the case at the end of the first day.
For their part Dippie and Grant, who had led the 2WD category from the first stage, would spend the rest of the day swapping fastest stage honours with Ross and Buer.
What the Porsche pair were unable to do, however, was shake Jason Gill and his co-driver Nicole Summerfield (4WD VW Polo R) off their tail.
Targa event veteran Gill and Summerfield went into the day in P4, 32.4 seconds shy of Dippie and Grant, but came out of it in P3 just 26 seconds down on the Dippie/Grant Porsche.
Auckland’s David Rogers and co-driver Shane Reynolds (Mitsubishi Evo 10) also moved up in the overall event ranking - from P6 to P4 - their cause aided by the 90 second (minute-and-a-half) time penalty levied on BMW M2 driver Mike Tubbs and co-driver Richard Scoular for exceeding the event’s pre-set maximum average speed through the third last special stage of the day.
Penalty-aside Tubbs and Scoular had enjoyed another competitive day in Tubbs’ 2WD BMW M2 coupe, the pair even claiming their first outright stage win in what turned out to be the ‘bogey’ stage of the event, the 20.78km Mt Egmont one. Proving the worth of their late-model hi-tech 2WD vehicles, Tubbs and Scoular also topped the time sheets in the first stage of the day the next day, pipping the Gill/Summerfield 4WD VW Polo R by 0.2 of second and the Ross/Buer Subaru Impreza by 11.5 seconds, while Mazda man Marcus Van Klink and his co-driver Matt Richards followed suit with their debut stage win in the second stage of the day, the 11.75km Waiouru, in Van Klink’s new 2WD 26B rotor-engined Mazda RX8.
Despite only winning one of the five other stages, and finishing an uncharacteristic 8th overall in another, at the end of the fourth day not only were Ross and Buer still leading the event overall, but their bonus time buffer – just over 3 minutes – over the second-placed Dippie/Grant Porsche GT3 RS was still very much intact. And it was the Dippie/Grant Porsche which looked the more and more vulnerable, Jason Gill and co-driver Nicole having reduced the time gap between the two podium protagonists from 26.9 secs to 17.9 secs.
And so it was that on the final day of the 2021 Targa New Zealand event Cameron Ross and Matthew Buer completed the job that had started five days and some 2000km before in New Plymouth, claiming a popular victory by the still impressive margin of 1:46.9 over…Jason Gill and Nicole Summerfield in the 4WD VW Polo R and Martin Dippie and Jona Grant in the Porsche GT3 RS.
That’s right. After winning the third last stage of the day long-time runner-up spot holders Dippie and Grant still had a 22.6 buffer over Gill and Summerfield in third By digging deep however, Gill and Summerfield were not only able to win the last two stages of the event, but they were also able to ‘turn the tables’ on Dippie and Grant, making up the Lion’s share – and more – of the 22.6sec. deficit with a winning run through the second-to-last Raukawa stage to take over second place by a margin of 3.2 seconds then pushing it out to 5.9 secs with a third win for the day in the final Tod/Middle Road stage.
Incorporated into and run concurrently over the final two days with the full five-day ‘2021’ Targa New Zealand event was a separately entered and scored - two-day - ‘2021’ Targa NZ Regional tarmac motor rally which started in Whanganui on Saturday May 28.
It was won by Tim McIver and co-driver Brent Wilson in McIvor’s recently imported ‘new-build’ tarmac-spec Mk11 Ford Escort from Pat Dillon and co-driver Bruce Chisholm in a MK 2 Lotus Cortina and the Peugeot 106 Club Sport of Simon and Jane van Tuyl.
Both the five-day and the two-day regional events incorporated their own concurrently run but independently organised and scored VCC Time Trials run in conjunction with the Vintage Car Club of NZ, as well as concurrent but non-competitive Targa Tours.
The main five-day VCC of NZ Time Trial was won by Russel Yates and Alise Inger in a 1977 MG B from Craig Inger and Oliver Going (1990 Mazda MX5) and Grant Ford and Kyle Lightfoot (1989 Mazda MX5).
The two-day version, meanwhile, was won by Malcolm Fleming and Gina Jones in a 1971 MG Midget with Bill Hopkins and Frank Robinson second in a Mazda MX3 and Michael D’Alton and Ian Stewart third in the mighty 1934 Bentley 3.5 Special.
Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TrackIt, Vital and Writeraze.
Last year’s winner, Robbie Stokes, heads into the 2022 Lone Star Rally of Canterbury as favourite and seeded number one on the road for this Sunday’s one-day event (5 June 2022). It’s the third round of the 2022 Mainland Rally Championship and Stokes, along with sister and co-driver Amy (Ford Fiesta AP4), look to continue their form this season after winning the second round of the series at Rally Otago in April.
The pairing will be hard pressed at Rally Canterbury with in-form Josh Marston/Andrew Graves (Holden Barina AP4) seeded second, and third on the road and national rival Jack Hawkeswood/Sarah Brennan (Toyota Yaris AP4) from Auckland, making the trip south.
With five rounds remaining in the Mainland Rally Championship, there is still plenty to play for across all seven separate classes that make up the 47-car field competing over seven Special Stages totalling over 120km, all in both Ashley and Okuku Forests, in North Canterbury.
Stokes may have won the last round; however, it is Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza Sti) who holds the overall lead on 43-points, just two ahead of Marcus van Klink (Mazda RX8) with Deane Buist (Toyota Trueno & Celica) third. Van Klink hasn’t entered the Rally of Canterbury while Buist will compete in a Ford Fiesta 2005.
With Marston, Stokes, and Ray Wilson (Subaru WRX) all tied in fourth place on 30 points, we may see a new overall leader emerge on Sunday afternoon.
Autotech Services, RDL Performance and Brita Safety have put up cash prizes for each Class winner at the end of the Mainland Rally Championship season.
$500, $250 and $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively for each class as well as trophies for all classes and overall for both driver and co- driver. Vehicles are divided up into seven different classes according to engine size, year of manufacture and two or four-wheel drive.
Leading Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) is Jay Ritchie (Toyota Starlet) who won the Class in Otago. William Hawes (Toyota Corolla) has a ten-point lead over David Birkett (Toyota Levin) in Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc). With van Klink, who leads Class C (2WD 1601cc and over), missing this round, Buist (Ford Fiesta this round) just needs to finish to move ahead in the category. Casey leads Class D (4WD 1601cc and over) from Wilson and Dave Ollis (Subaru Sti WRX) while Shane McKenzie leads Class E (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD).
While the rivalry in the Classic Class F&G has been intense between the Ford Escorts of Jeff Judd, Tim McIver and David Owen, a switch by Judd into a Subaru Magnum H6 may see a new leader in this category. The battle will be joined at the Rally of Canterbury with the addition of Tony Gosling (Ford Escort RS1800), Regan Ross (Ford Escort), Brent Rawstron (Ford Escort RS1800) and Brian Green (Ford Escort RS1800).
Nick Marston (Subaru H6) leads Class H6 from Amy Keighley (Subaru Magnum H6) although the addition of Judd’s Subaru will increase the competition in this category.
The Ceremonial Start in Eaton Place (off Manchester St) outside the Lone Star begins at 4:30 pm on Saturday 4th June while the event proper starts outside Joe’s Garage, Alfred St, Rangiora at 8:30 am on Sunday.
There will be two service opportunities outside Joe’s Garage at 10:40 am and 2:00 pm.
Due to forestry restrictions the only viewing will be SS1 and SS7 on the uphill of the rallysprint course (SS1 goes up and SS7 comes down).
The Rally Finish will be in Eaton Place outside Lone Star Manchester St at 4:30 pm on Sunday.
|Far North Rally|
|Rally South Canterbury|
|11||Marcus van Klink||+9:40.8|
|Rally of Canterbury|
|5||Marcus Van Klink||+8:41.7|
|APRC Qualifying Series|
|NZ Rally Championship|
|Mainland Rally Series|
|2||Marcus Van Klink||64|
|AASA Tarmac Championship|
|Targa NZ Seria Campione|