Changing Times at Rally Wairarapa

Press Release - 23 June 2014

The sport of Rallying is currently going through a period of change in New Zealand. Not only with the development of new machinery as the world wide demise of the Group N class continues, but also with the development of driving talent as up and coming drivers are starting to but real pressure on the incumbents.

While it will be the local lad Richard Mason as the odds on favourite to take back the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa trophy this weekend, there a number of young and youngish drivers to look out for.

Last year Ben Hunt won his first national championship rally at the GoPro Daybreaker Rally, having stepped up from a Ford Fiesta the year before. He has continued his fast pace this year and consistent top 5 stage times at the last event in Canterbury saw him second to Mason.


Ben Hunt shows his style on his way to winning the Daybreaker Rally last year.
Photo Credit: Jody Seabright

However it has been the two most recent Fiesta graduates who have been talking points this season. David Holder and Phil Campbell are running a Mitsubishi Evo 8 and 9 respectively where they have shown real speed as they get to grips with four wheel drive and the big jump in horse power. Third for Holder and fifth overall for Campbell at the last event underlined their progress so far this year.

Coming from a slightly different two wheel drive direction has been Matt Summerfield. The diesel powered Skoda of a few years ago is a long way from the Subaru WRX he currently pilots. His stage times this year are a definite step up on last year, and being seeded third at Rally Wairarapa reflects his current third place in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, driven by Vinz.

But it was a 19 year old in his second full season of competition who went from finishing mid field at the start of last year, to top 15 at the end, and at the Lone Star Canterbury Rally this year achieved a career high 4th overall. Lance Williams hasn’t followed the tried and true two wheel drive apprenticeship, but went straight in at the deep end. An older Subaru WRX last year has been replaced by a modern Subaru WRX R4, and he starts number 2 on the road, again reflecting his second place in the NZ Rally Championship.

And there are more cutting their teeth further down the field who will be ones to watch in a few years. This includes 18 year old Max Bayley, who has already gone from a Toyota Levin last year to a full season in a Ford Fiesta R2 this year.

Hamish Anderson is again taking on the NZ Rally Championship in his Toyota Levin, after an initial foray into the top level competition last year. Meanwhile it is Jonathan Walker in an Evo 4, along with Tyson Jemmett and McCrae Sloper (both in Honda Civics) who took out the top Junior Driver points in the opening round of the Total Lubricants Rally Xtreme Challenge earlier this month in the Hawkes Bay. All four are seeded mid pack and will be looking to continue their development in a positive direction.

This shows that rallying is in good heart, with close competition and a number of drivers looking for their first opportunity to knock over the old hands. The times are so close these days it will only take a minor error or a small notch in speed for the tables to be turned.

Make sure you get out this Saturday, 28th June to watch these youngsters mark their mark. Rally maps and spectating information is available at rallywairarapa.co.nz


© Rally Wairarapa Inc - 04 905 6250 - enquiries@rallywairarapa.co.nz