Stage and Service, driver comments:

2019:

Service F and SS11 – SS14
Date: 5 May 2019 Flash No: 1
Weather: High cloud, dry, calm, temperate.

Car 1 Hayden Paddon / Samantha Gray

It has been a great rally and great result – exactly what we wanted. Much better this afternoon after getting on top of a few technical issues that have plagued us throughout the rally. This afternoon has been a lot of fun – we’ve really enjoyed it. Sam has done a great job in the car; it’s a great result for the team and maximum points again for the Pacific Cup so it’s perfect.

I just wanted to get out and enjoy it – they are some of the nicest stages in the world and I really wanted to get my teeth into it. I won the stage record that was up for grabs this weekend and managed to take a good chunk out of it  – ticked all the boxes this weekend despite the difficulties – the team did a great job.

Car 2 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

It’s been a bit challenging but we’re pretty happy with fourth – we could also wish for more but our spin yesterday cost us. Overall pretty happy, today was a good day and the guys will be happy with that.

Car 3 Andrew Hawkeswood / Jeff Cress

We tried a bit harder today and finished second overall for NZRC day two so it’s a bit more encouraging than it was yesterday. There has been nothing wrong with the car – just me.

Car 4 David Holder / Jason Farmer

We are pretty happy with the whole weekend. We had a niggly issue this afternoon with a faulty oil pressure sensor that put the car into limp mode. I could hold a button to clear it but doing that meant I couldn’t change gears, so Jason was doing that – so was a bit exciting for a half-stage until we could resolve it.

Getting into someone else’s car worth so much plays on your mind so we are very happy with the level of pace at the moment. We are sure there is more in the car with what Hayden can show in his pace – plus I know there is more in us so we will keep cracking on.”

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

Definitely a fantastic result – 1st at Otago and now 1st at Whangarei so it is a fantastic way for us to start the championship. Hayden had a standout performance as usual and it’s always great fun chasing him down and we pushed quite hard all the way through today. I’ll be looking forward to heading down to the forest of Canterbury now.

Car 8 Dylan Turner / Paul Fallon

Off Road – Retired SS17

Car 11 Josh Marston / Andrew Graves

Absolutely stoked – it’s been a really long event but the car has been great. I can’t say enough about the boys and full credit to the team. They have worked really hard for us really, we walk to them about a few little things and they would really bring it home for us so full credit to them.

Car 5 Jack Hawkeswood / Alex Parkin

I went into this weekend not really knowing what I was going to be in for because you can’t really do results any justice until you’re actually doing the stage. Biggest lesson for me was to just drive, not to try push the car too hard but still do the best that I can.

Service E and SS11 – SS14
Date: 5 May 2019 Flash No: 1
Weather: Sunny with high-cloud patches, dry and warm.

Car 1 Hayden Paddon / Samantha Gray

We are nursing the car at the moment. We had a technical problem that came in on the first stage and lost power so had to tone it down and nurse the car so are lucky to be back. This afternoon it will be a lot more swept so there will be a lot more tyre wear and grip – hopefully we will have a decent crack in the afternoon.

Car 2 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

The morning has been much better for us. We found a problem with the car last night and we have been able to fix that. We’re going along okay, just trying to do our best with what we have.

Car 3 Andrew Hawkeswood / Jeff Cress

We’ve picked up the pace a little bit today so its been really good compared to how things were going. Looking at our position its not too bad for an old boy that’s about ready to retire.

Car 4 David Holder / Jason Farmer

It was quite fun – it was quite loose though. I was trying to follow Hayden’s lines which was quite interesting. I was spending too much time in the ditches, not turning the car in quite early enough and oversteer out of the corners – so it was a learning morning. We lost a bit of time to Ben (Hunt) but that’s all good.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

Feeling great; Tony and I have been working really well and the car feels just like it did yesterday. I got out on the better side of bed today so had a bit of a crack. Unfortunately for Steve (Barker) we were having a great battle and he clipped something on that last stage and is now out. Obviously Holder and I are quite close – so that’s quite exciting at the same time.

Car 8 Dylan Turner / Paul Fallon

Messy kind of sums up our morning really – we pushed quite hard knowing we had to try catch Josh. We came up to a 3 left and I completely sheared off the handbrake and it locked on so then we were running on 2WD. I stalled the car and lost a good 20 seconds heading up the hill in 2WD before we were to fix it. We got into a good state where we managed to pull some time back but then we had a huge off-road on a tightening 4 left. I managed to straighten us up to prevent us from rolling but we went down a 6-8 foot drop – luckily it was just tall grass; we were very lucky I managed to get us out of there.  

Car 11 Josh Marston / Andrew Graves

Its been a good clean run for us. The car is running good and there is a lot of gravel on the road that is very very loose. We’ve had a couple of little issues that cost us a bit of time but we can keep pushing on. If we can get a little more grip on the rear and consolidate that to stay in second will be good. Ben is a long way ahead so we wont be trying to do anything silly.

Car 5 Jack Hawkeswood / Alex Parkin

Been a little bit bumpy this morning – trying way too hard and struggling with too much gravel on the road. Had a mental reset now so should be set for this afternoon.

Car 15 Stephen Barker / Chris MacIver
Retired SS14

18 Kingsley Jones Waverley Jones

We had a bit of a mistime at the stage this morning – we got there and were ready to go but they changed the time on us so we lost about a minute which we’re protesting at the moment. That will put us ahead of Andrew about 15 seconds but he’s been beating us by about 10 seconds per stage so it’s only gonna take him a stage and the lead will be gone. I can’t really go any faster because I’m still learning but it has been a really good morning.

Car 24 Dylan Thomson / Amy Hudson

The first stage we were struggling for turn-in and exit – the car wasn’t handling anything like it did yesterday. It wasn’t until about ¾ through we realised were eighth on the road and previously never been higher than about 30th – so the gravel is just houding us and I had to adjust my driving style and find confidence in the gravel. I’m sure when it sweeps off for the next run I’ll be a bit more comfortable.

Service C and SS7 – SS10
Date: 4 May 2019 Flash No: 2
Weather: Sunny, dry, warm

Car 1 Hayden Paddon / Samantha Gray

It is good to be nearly 3 minutes up after the driveshaft problem that lost us nearly a minute earlier in the day. Samantha has been doing a really good job and we’ve been able to get a few stage records so all the boxes have been ticked. The road conditions are very good – hard dry and fast. Hard for tyres and if you get off that line its very loose so it’s difficult for driving – in the morning you can be flowing with the driving and this afternoon have to be tarmac like.

Car 2 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

The expectations were high coming into this rally and it hasn’t gone to plan as such. Hopefully tomorrow will be better and we will have more power and can go for it. The roads will be faster so won’t really suit our car – we will give it a go.

Car 3 Andrew Hawkeswood / Jeff Cress

We will keep pushing on a bit. Dave has the measure of us at the moment so I’m happy to be here in third to be honest. We lost a bit of time last night, we’ve had spins and had to reverse up a few times – it’s been one of those days. We’ll be on it tomorrow.

Car 4 David Holder / Jason Farmer

It has been a steady day for us – with a few teething issues between stages that kept us busy. Tried to manage the tyres and backed off a bit too much and now have a bit much left – but that’s okay. We have a target to stay within a sec/km of Hayden and we’ve been keeping that.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

It’s been a good day even after a few mistakes after the morning stages. Stephen has been driving superbly and it’s brought back memories of the Fiesta days – stoked with how he went and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Car 43 Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino
Powersteering failure after SS7.

Car 8 Dylan Turner / Paul Fallon

Today we’ve had to deal with a spin and a puncture, and a bit of a mix up in the notes so its been a bit of an average day for us really but anytime you make it to the end here and you haven’t got a scratch on your car then you can’t be too disappointed with that and we’re only a minute of the pace so it’s not too bad but it is always nice to be better. The car has been pretty good but with a new co-driver and Paul having not done it for about 8 years our timing was a little bit off for us both. The last loop was pretty much perfect and the mistakes were all mine. Ken Block lost his power-steering and we got caught up in his dust so we probably lost a bit of time there as well. Other than that though the car has been good and we’ve had a pretty good day.

Car 11 Josh Marston / Andrew Graves

Overall it’s been a good day. There seems to be a whole lot going on but ultimately the car is feeling really good. We had a bit of a tyre wear issue through the afternoon.

Car 5 Jack Hawkeswood / Alex Parkin

Our turbo has done a bearing – about 2km from the end of the last stage, losing all boost. Unfortunately Stephen has caught our dust and isn’t too happy. We’re still running and get the boys to fix it up.

Car 15 Stephen Barker / Chris MacIver

We were off to a really good start and by midday we were leading but Ben Hunt came back at us really hard. We tried to push on but the hard tyres probably started to overheat from us trying. The last stage was shocking. Ol’ Jack [Hawkeswood] had something wrong with his car and he held us up for a long time. When you’re going into the last stage 1 second behind the leader that’s not what you need so it was disappointing. Jack did come talk to me [about the incident] so we’re all good.

Car 18 Kingsley Jones / Waverley Jones

Its been a pretty good day. We lost a bit of time when we went into a spin but it has been really good. The roads up here are really good and its always good to be up here and show off to the spectators. We’ll look at the cosmetics of the car because the front bumper is just barely hanging on. We’ll chuck on some more tyres and go again tomorrow.

Car 20 Marcus van Klink / Dave Neill

It was pretty good out there. The assessed time given was the same as our time so we were pipped by Kingsley at the post there. Other than that it was a good day – hard going out there, excessive tyre wear, high speeds – the car has been going good though.

Car 26 Brian Green / Fleur Pedersen

We haven’t really gone that fast this year. We didn’t realise we’ve been driving with a broken swaybar this morning – but those young guys are just going faster and faster. We are having fun though – that’s why we are here.

Car 28 Bruce Herbert / Bevan Parker

Heap of fun. Had a spin at the bridge at the end of the last stage – just cocked it up. Just love the sport.

Car 31 Jeff Judd / Sarah Brennan

We are here in one piece – all the tail lights are in it, the bumper is still on it. A great day – just loved it. We’ve been a lot closer to the hot-rods than I thought we would be. I thought we would get smoked by them all – and instead we’re hanging in there. The roads up here maybe suit us a bit more.

Service B and SS3 – SS6
Date: 4 May 2019
Flash No: 1
Weather: Sunny, dry
Road conditions: firm with loose gravel.

Car 1 Hayden Paddon / Samantha Gray

The roads are in very good condition, a lot of loose gravel though. First one was not so bad with a bit of humidity and the grip was good. The next stages were very very loose and we were sliding around a lot – which was not the fastest way but we were also enjoying it a lot until we lost time in the last stage with a driveshaft problem.

Car 2 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

It hasn’t been a good start – the car has been underpowered and we’ve been having lots of little problems. Not good for morale either.

Car 3 Andrew Hawkeswood / Jeff Cress

The morning hasn’t been too bad really. We were struggling to get up to speed for a bit and there’s young fellas now so I’ve sort of been off it for a few years but we’ll get there. The roads up here have been great so it’s good even with the new stage, just have to try stay close.

Car 4 David Holder / Jason Farmer

The first one had a nice rhythm then we looked at the tyres and realised we’d better look after them. Then in that last stage the car felt very loose like it was rear-wheel drive so I’m not sure if we’ve got an axle problem or it was just loose gravel. There is a tricky bridge at the end of the last stage, where you come flat, slide and 90 right onto a bridge – so you’re timing the slide to get it right through the bridge – so you can spin it rather than overcook it and hit the bridge.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

There has been a few little driver errors this morning. I stalled in stage 3 and went wide in a corner in Helena Bay. Theres is quite a lot of gravel out there so we’ll be sweeping quite a lot of [the gravel] away but it should be better this afternoon with some tyre work. The first half of stage 5 was beautiful.

Car 43 Ken Block / Alessandro Gelsomino

Started off slow and getting quicker through those stages. Incredible fun and exactly what I came here for. Very happy and a very good morning.

Car 8 Dylan Turner / Paul Fallon

We were geling on our notes and are definitely getting there. I think we’ve got something wrong with the front diff as it’s making a wheel-spin noise. The car feels not too bad but doing something funny at the front – hopefully it will make it the whole way through.

Car 10 Phil Campbell / Malcolm Peden

The car has been going good without issues so we’ve been going pretty steady. It’s been pretty exciting out on the roads and they have been pretty fast so it should make for a great afternoon.

Car 11 Josh Marston / Andrew Graves

We’ve been able to go at a pretty reasonable pace this morning but it would pay for us to go a little bit quicker. Everything seems to be going pretty good but when we get into service we will need to give the car a bit of a tune so we can do a bit more in the afternoon. Other than that, we can’t complain.

Car 12 Emma Gilmour / Ben Searcy

Overheating issues – Temp withdrawal

Car 14 Raana Horan / Michael Connor

Off Road – Crew ok Temp withdrawal

Car 5 Jack Hawkeswood / Alex Parkin

The stages were good. I’ve had a few problems with the car and wondering if we are down on power even though we’ve hazed the tyres. It may just be because I’m not used to driving it with two spare tyres and a full tank of gas – it didn’t feel like what I’m used to.

Car 15 Stephen Barker / Chris MacIver

We are a pretty low-key team and are getting the job done today. I guess you could call me a local even though I’ve not done it in nine years. Chris and I are working well in the car today and with the hard and medium compound tyre mix we could press on and are doing well. The lines seem to be very inconsistent – some are going wide and some are hooking in tight so we are sliding in-between, so it’s not as swept as it should be next time through.

Car 6 Suguru Kawana / Noriko Takeshita

The roads have been very nice with some good views and it is my first time with Rally New Zealand. Of course, I don’t have any experience on these roads but I have been trying to study them a lot to get better.

2018:

Service F and SS15 – SS18

Car 5 Hayden Paddon / Malcolm Peden

Date: 6 May 2017 Flash No: 1
Weather: Cloudy, calm.

It’s been an a very good weekend. Everything has gone according to plan and I’ve enjoyed the roads up here. The others have also done a very good job, so the event has been great. I’ve been pretty comfortable with how everything has gone this weekend and it’s paid off.

Car 2 Yuya Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui

I’m very very happy but very very lucky. The roads have been very fast, and I have liked the weekend. Today I just tried to go faster and I am lucky to win.

Car 3 Fabio Frisiero / Simone Scattolin

I’m feeling a lot better this afternoon and I’ve enjoyed it so much. It’s been the best. We tried to catch Sumiyama this afternoon but it was impossible, he was just too fast and congratulations to him for getting the win. It’s also been a suprise for us to even be here, and in this position so I’m extremely happy. The roads have been very slippery and narrow in some places but very fast. You have to know the roads to be able to drive them fast and my compliments go to the NZ drivers who went very fast.

Car 6 Nathan Quinn / David Calder

I’m happy with the result I guess. I’ve spent most of the weekend just trying to get a feel for the car and get my confidence up. When I come to grips with one thing, I have to start working on something else and then when I think I’m there; it rains. I was already a little discomforted with the roads so the rain didn’t help. Overall, everything has been great but it has taken until the end of the rally to get the hang of it.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

It’s been a fantastic weekend. To get second at Otago and second here in Whangarei is an awesome result for the team and the car – thats come a long way. Im really looking forward to going into the forestry down in Canterbury for the next event. I love the roads up here and the way we hop in and out of them is fantastic so overall it’s been a great event.

Car 31 Emma Gilmour / Anthony McLoughlin

It feels a little bitter-sweet. I have enjoyed everything this weekend, the car felt really really good, I felt good but it’s not a podium finish. I’m definitely happy with the result and the points that I’ve racked up but I really would have liked that podium spot. The event has been great and the roads were really fun out there.

Service E and SS11 – SS14

Weather: Very cloudy. Light showers.
Date: 6 May 2017
Flash No: 1

Car 5 Hayden Paddon / Malcolm Peden

Everything has been very good this morning and has been a lot of fun. The rain has made the road a little bit slippery in places and its kept the dust down so that helps a little bit. Overall the conditions haven’t been too bad but we’re going to need to get the weather on our side if we want to get these records on our second pass.

Car 1 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

*DNS

Car 9 Dylan Turner / Sarah Brennan

Hasn’t been a bad morning, we tried pushing for third but made a mistake and it cost us, we wound up having an accident. The gap is probably too big for us to catch-up now but we’ll be waiting to pick up the pieces if some-one else makes a mistake.

Car 3 Fabio Frisiero / Simone Scattolin

We lost a lot of time in the first stage this morning and it cost us the lead. In the third stage we managed to find a lot more rhythm and our confidence got better. We’ve had to make some changes to the set-up of the car and it feels to be running a lot better now. The rain hasn’t been a problem and the conditions are good.

Car 6 Nathan Quinn / David Calder

Roads have been pretty good. I’m trying to continue with what I was doing yesterday even though I wasn’t doing it as good as I could. If I wasn’t discomforted by the roads at the beginning, it then starts raining. I could probably take a lot more risks if I wanted too, but I just want to drive at a level that I’m comfortable with. I don’t want to push too much harder or back-off because thats when mistakes happen. I don’t have the knowledge of what the roads or weather will do so I’m just gonna keep on keeping on.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

The morning hasn’t been too bad. We’ve been having troubles with the heated screen all weekend because it has been failing on us. We’re being plagued with a foggy windscreen and have been managing it with rags. We might have to try putting something else on the window to help.

Car 31 Emma Gilmour / Anthony McLoughlin

We’ve enjoyed our run this morning, the set-up changes we made overnight have worked and I’m happy with how the car felt. Things were a little bit loose out there this morning and there was a lot of loose metal but overall I’m happy. We’ll keep putting pressure on Nathan this afternoon, it’s important to make sure we’ll finish but I really want to make it to the podium so we’re going to keep trying.

Service C and SS7 – SS10

Date: 5 May 2017 Flash No: 1
Weather: Overcast, mild.

Car 5 Hayden Paddon / Malcolm Peden
I’ve been really happy with how today has gone. We were trying to look after the tyres this afternoon and manage through the stages with them. Its been a really enjoyable day and eveything has gone according to plan. With the slightly different stages tomorrow we will hopefully manage to keep pushing on and hopefully maintain what we have gotten from today.

Car 2 Yuya Sumiyama / Takahiro Yasui
The roads have been difficult but they didnt cause much trouble. They are very high speed. I liked staged 5 the most.

Car 3 Fabio Frisiero / Simone Scattolin
This afternoon has gone a lot better on the second time through. Its been a suprise to be leading but we’re happy. As the day has gone on our confidence got better. Our feeling for the car got better and so did the grip. Hopefully we will be able to keep it going for tomorrow.

Car 6 Nathan Quinn / David Calder
Overall, a little bit disappointed with this morning, the concept of these cars is to drive them aggressively and sutff like that which is no worries. I probably had the most fun this morning but it definitely wasn’t fast. I think I’ve got it all figured out now so I will see how it all goes tomorrow.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn
We’ve been having heaps of fun in the car this afternoon. We didnt really focus too much on what the others were doing but everything seems to be working well. The car has been magnificent and we’re happy with the result.

Car 31 Emma Gilmour / Anthony McLoughlin
We lost a bit of confidence in the handling in the last run through, but we’re still here. We need to make sure we keep it tidy and we’ll see how we go tomorrow. We had to make some adjustments to keep the car balanced but when we put the lights on it put a whole lot of weight over the front tyres. The dust was bad enough but hats off to Dylan who had an absolute flyer.

Service B and SS3 – SS6
Weather: Sunny.
Date: 5 May 2018 Flash No: 1

Car 5 Hayden Paddon / Malcolm Peden

The NZRC guys have been keeping us honest and [they] have done a good job with keeping up. There was a lot of fog in the first two stages which made it quite interesting actually. There is a lot of gravel on the roads as well but I’ve been enjoying it. In the afternoon the roads should have been swept so it should be even more enjoyable and a lot faster so we should be able to take the records [fastest overall time for re-used stages]. The question will just be a matter of by how much.

Car 1 Mike Young / Malcolm Read

* Did not return for service.

Car 3 Fabio Frisiero / Simone Scattolin

Everything is fine. Im finding it difficult to find the rhythm. The car and the tyres are perfect but its hard for me to find the right way to drive. Everytime we push more, I take more risks and I just dont have the confidence. There was a lot of fog this morning but with the notes it was ok was not a problem.

Car 6 Nathan Quinn / David Calder

Stage three wasn’t too bad even though it was pretty foggy. Everything was going well until the end where we lost a bit of time, I think we might have a little too much pressure in the tyres. The next stage was a lot better for us, and then we thought we’d done even better in the next one but we got flogged. I might have to change my driving in the tight stuff because I’m obviously doing something wrong. The first two stages are quite fast and the last two are tight and that is where we lost time.

Car 7 Ben Hunt / Tony Rawstorn

First stage was pretty foggy.

Car 8 Matt Summerfield / Nicole Summerfield

We were pretty happy with how we got through stage three this morning even though it was pretty foggy. We’ve had to nurse a bit of a broken car for the last three stages. Near the start of stage four I’ve hit something and it has broken the suspension big time so we’ll have to try fix it during service and we’ll keep going.

Car 31 Emma Gilmour / Anthony McLoughlin

When we were touring back in I could feel something wasn’t quite right in the steering. There’s something in one of the axles or the joints but it’s nothing major. It’s pretty good timing as it is just before service. It’s been a good morning, car is going well, notes are good so everything is good. We’ll keep putting pressure on Ben, but its a long rally and there’s a long way to go.

Car 9 Dylan Turner / Sarah Brennan

We had a few issues this morning. In stage one we had a pace note issue so we got a little bit lost. We had a small spin in stage five where we lost about 15 seconds. We’re sitting in 4th and we’ll never catch Hayden but we’ll try to catch Emma for third. Everything is going good, car is good, new co-driver and she’s doing realy well.

2017:

Service F and SS14 – SS16

Date: 30 April 2017 Flash No: 4
Weather: Fine breaks with strengthening winds, roads damp from recent rain.

Car 1 Gaurav Gill/Stephane Prevot
This has been a good rally, very very difficult for me and while OC (Ole Christian) has been driving very well the incident today pushed him back, after we had some issues yesterday that pushed us back. So I guess that is part and parcel of the sport. Our other most important thing is to have both cars sitting one and two for the MRF team.

I have been changing a lot of the suspension settings to see how the car and chassis reacts when you go softer or harder – and had to keep altering my driving style which is helping my learning of this car. With the R5 car we haven’t encountered these conditions before so we are continuing to learn and it is great to be back here with even more confidence in them.

We are here to win. Being professionals – we are always wanting to win although it is important to make sure we do it at the right time and right place in the championship.
Honestly, when you are a champion everyone wants to pull you down and when you’re not a champion you want to go up. Being a champion and maintaining it is harder than becoming a champion.

Car 3 Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjarmoen
It was not so nice. Quite disappointed at the moment as I felt we had this win, but that is rallying, we win together and lose together. Second place comes with good points but as I said I thought we had this win.
A brake hose in the rear came loose and all the fluid came out so I lost brakes into a junction and barely made it. So had to finish the stage with no brakes and lost a lot of time.
It has been a real pleasure to be here and huge thanks to SKODA, MRF and the guys in the team – they did an amazing job and we improved a lot this weekend and showed good speed. That last stage – with no pressure we just cruised, had fun and were driving for all the spectators to enjoy.

Car 4 Robert Blomberg/Lars Andersson
Nice to be here. It has been a long, long rally, with rain and everything out there on the stages – so am glad to reach the finish line. The grip second time through through was similar but after driving them this morning we had more confidence in the pace notes.

Car 5 PG Abhilash/Srikanth Gowda
So happy to be here. Had fun in that second loop and very happy to have finished my first international event. Enjoyed the high-speed roads.

Car 6 Fuyuhiko Takahashi/Mitsuo Nakamura
Very happy to have finished. Feeling tired but have enjoyed this rally.

Car 21 Andrew Hawkeswood/Jeff Cress
It was a bit slippery with a bit of clay coming through – otherwise it was all good. The car is fine and did everything it had to. It was a pity others had a penalty otherwise it would have been a full-on race for sure. But happy to have the win – got to have one sometime.

Car 22 Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield
It’s been an awesome event. A big credit goes to the guys who have given me this car. It has been such an unreal weekend with so much drama going on and cars breaking down so we are very lucky to even be here today. We’re absolutely rapt with how everything has gone and it was definitely hard-fought.

Car 24 Emma Gilmour/Anthony McLoughlin
We got some points!. It was good to have a trouble-free day basically. They were some pretty tough conditions out there and I would have liked the car to have had a bit more grip than what it had but it is what it is. These wet conditions really sapped the power out of this little 1600 but we’re here and looking forward to Canterbury now.

Car 8 Dylan Turner/Malcolm Read
We managed to hold on to our podium finish. We had no brakes for maybe 20km of the first stage and it felt like we were going really really good and we were up on the split times until we knocked the tip off the caliper and lost our rear brakes. It was pretty scary but we made it to the end but lost a lot of time after that huge fright. It was the only real issue we had aside from a little stone flicking up. Really happy to have made the podium finish.

Car 28 Darren Galbraith/Rocky Hudson
It’s definitely been a pretty good weekend. We’re 3rd overall and we didn’t expect that coming up here. We did hope to make top 10 to get some points and maybe a few top 5 stage times and we’ve done that. We managed to win a stage yesterday so I am absolutely stoked.

Service E and SS11 – SS13

Date: 30 April 2017 Flash No: 2

Weather: Damp roads, periods of passing rain showers, clearing to sun.

Car 1 Gaurav Gill/Stephane Prevot
Not what I wanted. I knew I could get more time but am still not 100% confident in this setup. I’m still changing setup between stages to find more and more grip – trying different tyres and specs all the time. Still getting used to the conditions; it’s the first time running the R5 car in these sorts of conditions and stages. It is good learning; OC is driving very well and he has good speed so we will continue our chase. I don’t want to risk the win – it is a long championship – it’s not the end of the series it is the begin of the series so we need to play smart.

Car 3 Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjarmoen
We have some problem with the rear-left upright. It happened in the second stage – toward the end and we have lost some time. We could have gone much faster – it is a big shame it has happened as I think we could have increased our lead. For me it is the first time I’ve been first on the road – we lost a bit of time on the first stage with so much loose gravel and was difficult to get the speed out of the corners. We have to keep the speed up. Gaurav is pushing from behind so we cannot afford to have any mistakes – we have to go fast.

Car 4 Robert Blomberg/Lars Andersson
The first stage I didn’t have the confidence and rhythm. There are lots of fast blind corners and you have to have big balls to go fast through them. The second one was okay although I have difficulty on the tarmac sections especially when they are wet – so am keeping a margin. The third stage was really fun – it was like riding a roller coaster and I enjoyed it. We are here to enjoy the stages, keep the momentum and not make any mistakes. We will now refine the pace notes for the final three stages now we know more about them.

Car 5 PG Abhilash/Srikanth Gowda
Very nice today – sunny and less rain. We just want to finish and get experience – it is our first time here so we want to learn more about the stages and speed through the corners – that is our plan.

Car 6 Fuyuhiko Takahashi/Mitsuo Nakamura
We had fun – the reason why I entered this rally. There was a little rain early and the last stage was very up and down – not like anything in Japan so was very different – but fun.

Car 22 Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield
It’s been a pretty good morning for us this morning. We gave ourselves a bit of a scare in the first stage this morning with the corner on the bridge but we were very lucky to get away and it gave us a slow puncture. We still took some time out of Dylan and there is nothing left in the drive we can’t go anymore faster than that. We’re feeling pretty good for this afternoon and the amount of time we’re taking out should make for an exciting finish.

Car 24 Emma Gilmour/Anthony McLoughlin
We’ve struggled a bit to be honest this morning. I just didn’t have as much confidence in the car as I would have liked. We have a few things to check over when we get back into service, I don’t know if it’s due to the damage we took yesterday so we’ll have to check it out and test it for this afternoon.

Car 8 Dylan Turner/Malcolm Read
We were a little bit cautious going through the first one and warming up on the third stage I was cautious as well. In-between that we were going awesome – just like the car. It’s just a case of learning more about the car and keep that momentum going. We are still a bit down on power because the fuel they tuned it on was a little bit better than we are using but when it is on full map it will be really good. It has good power out of the corners it’s just mid-range it is a bit slow. An awesome car, beautifully balanced – just so well setup. Choice Performance have built us a car that hasn’t missed a beat all weekend – I think we are second in the New Zealand Rally Championship and 30sec ahead of third. Matt is going pretty fast so we will push although he loves that first stage and he took time out of us first time through. We’ll just see how it goes – I’m still learning the car although would like to push for the win.

Service C and SS7 – SS10

Date: 29 April 2017 Flash No: 2

Weather: Rain becoming heavy with roads very muddy in places.

Car 1 Gaurav Gill/Stephane Prevot
It has been a long day and I think we have some issues with the front dampers and maybe the rear differential too. At service we will get them checked out. The front dampers mean we can’t get the tyres to work like they should so obviously I can’t go as fast as I would like to. We have had good speed and I have enjoyed the stages. Tomorrow is another long day and I have a lot to catch up.

Car 2 Jari Ketomaa/Ville Mannisenmaki
The roads and rally is wonderful – we are having a very good time. Ville is only 21-years-old and he is doing a great job as a co-driver – so it has been very nice to work with him and rally in New Zealand. But unfortunately we have had some problems with the engine and its low-end torque – so is painful to drive on the slow stages because we don’t get much drive. We will change the turbo in service and hope we get more torque for tomorrow’s stages – and make it easier to drive. The weather is not optimum but it is the same for everyone – it is good fun and sometimes it is good to drive in the rain.

Car 3 Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjarmoen
A very nice day for us. We started with our own pace this morning in the first loop, to check in against everyone else. The afternoon we increased our pace and felt comfortable we could push a bit more. It’s not a maximum attack but I tried to take some time in the first stage after the morning service because we did that first up. The stage after that I felt I did well and it seems like it was a good time compared to Gaurav. You can go fast in these cambered corners but the changing conditions of mud and rain made it slippery in places and not others. In some places it was raining so hard the wipers couldn’t clear all the water away – so made it hard to see. Very happy to be where we are.

Car 4 Robert Blomberg/Lars Andersson
I’m really upset I didn’t bring my swimming suit because there is a lot of swimming on the stages but it’s okay. We survived the day and the last two stages was just about surviving. The last one had everything except snow, it had fog on a straight where you should have it full throttle but you couldn’t see a metre in front of the car. You were sliding on every corner so it was a new experience in these conditions. The car is okay but we are lacking some boost on the uphill so it is very difficult when it is very wet and muddy because you need to spin it but it just keeps sliding.

Car 5 PG Abhilash/Srikanth Gowda
Disastrous (laughing). Stages seven and nine were good although the last stage it was getting dark and raining. Otherwise the car is fine and we are having fun.

Car 6 Fuyuhiko Takahashi/Mitsuo Nakamura
Happy with today. It was same as this morning for us – very slippery in places. So many cars have made the roads slippery with the rain and mud.

Car 22 Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield
It hasn’t been all plain sailing; we’ve got a massive exhaust leak with the car. I don’t know if it’s related but the steering was a little bit funny on the way back, but otherwise pretty cool with the day – it’s been a really good day and a good reward for the team. Hopefully with this next service we can rectify these problems and get a clean run tomorrow.

Car 8 Dylan Turner/Malcolm Read
It’s been pretty good considering we’re still learning the car. We may have achieved a good result through the misfortunes of others but we have done better than we thought we would do. The car has won its first stage in the NZRC so it’s pretty cool. We have a few changes we want to make but we can’t make them this round so we’ll have to do it between rounds where we’ll make the handling a little bit better.

Car 25 Rhys Gardner/Phil Hall
Being able to see out the front windscreen was a highlight for the afternoon. It’s been pretty good though we’re just testing out our tyres, it’s the first time we’ve been out here driving these roads so we’re just learning what it’s like to drive the roads here so it has been awesome.

Car 32 Dave Strong/Bruce McKenzie
We survived! We got by using my experience and watching for the slippery stuff and staying out of trouble. Making it back here was one of the highlights for the day.

Service B and SS3 – SS6

Date: 29 April 2017 Flash No: 1

Weather: Mild temperature with periods of heavy rain. Wet road surface with puddles forming in some parts.

Car 1 Gaurav Gill/Stephane Prevot
Pretty good. The roads are nice but very slippery. I thought we were losing some turbo boost as when we hit heavy gravel patches it sucked so much power and thought it was a problem with the car. The rain seems to be helping us a little bit although we are clearing a lot of gravel out of the way. At last I am starting to enjoy it and am getting back into the rhythm. We are taking time to get used to having Stephane in the car including not having driven a rally car for six months – but I am pretty happy. I always love competition and welcome competition.

Car 2 Jari Ketomaa/Ville Mannisenmaki
Not very easy this morning. We had some issues with the engine from the first stage. It was okay on the open stages but in the twisty stuff it was going down in power and at the end of the stage I feel as if there is no power at all. So has been difficult to drive as it has been changing all the time.

Car 3 Ole Christian Veiby/Stig Rune Skjarmoen
Not the easiest morning. I was not happy with my driving in the beginning but after that in the twistier stages Gaurav has been driving very well. I have been trying to do my best to keep on the roads. No mistakes and we are here, there is not much time between us so it is looking good. The camber on the roads is new for me so was a little difficult for me in the beginning – but it is getting better.

Car 4 Robert Blomberg/Lars Andersson
It was okay; there was a very fast section on the first stage and that was a little bit unusual – we are not used to that in Sweden and when we got to the twistier parts I started to get better. I’ve not driven these kinds of stages before so it is going to take some time – step by step. The setup of the car is fine. I’m having fun – that is why I’m here.

Car 5 PG Abhilash/Srikanth Gowda
Raining in the first three stages; the fast stage went well but in the second and third stages we couldn’t see anything because of the windshield getting fogged up.

Car 6 Fuyuhiko Takahashi/Mitsuo Nakamura
Very good morning, wet but enjoying it. The roads are slippery and not so fast but everything is okay.

Car 20 David Holder/Jason Farmer
We had been having a good run and were nice and consistent. Finished stage five and a stone must have hit a power steering line and put a hole in it. We did the whole of stage six with no power steering so am feeling pretty shattered and proud we didn’t lose too many places. The car is good; we made a few changes and had a lot of fun.

Car 21 Andrew Hawkeswood/Jeff Cress
We smashed a wheel in one stage and I think the turbo has gone off a little bit as I’m not seeing much boost. In that last one I really tried my hardest and got nowhere, anyway.

Car 22 Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield
It has been solid although hasn’t been without drama, we’ve been chasing some problems with the centre-diff. It came right for the power stage which was nice but we will see what we can do now. The stages are pretty cool and I didn’t think they would suit this car as well as they have so am looking forward to this afternoon – crack on.

Car 23 Sloan Cox/Sarah Coatsworth
Pretty happy with our morning. The rain is a bit of a battle but it is the same for everyone, with that bit of fog too. An awesome morning.

Car 24 Emma Gilmour/Anthony McLoughlin
There’s some tricky conditions out there so we made some changes to the car though we seem to be okay in the medium-high speed. We really struggled through Helena and all the tight roads so we’ll have to go back to the drawing board.

Car 26 Graham Featherstone/Dave Devonport
Been a bit of a mix so far. We’ve had some flat tyres and the car is just boosting at around 15 pounds so it’s been pretty average.

Car 51 Greg Murphy/Mark Leonard
The morning has been pretty good so far and the car is okay. I haven’t really had any issues other than not being able to see because it’s been pretty foggy but we’ve gotten through it all okay. I’m looking forward to this afternoon but hopefully it doesn’t pour down with rain with a bit of luck.

Car 9 Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen
It hasn’t been a bad morning but it’s been extremely slippery in places and the car has survived.

       

Rally of Whangarei

 
The FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) is one of the premier regional championships in world rallying and is contested by teams from New Zealand, Australia, China, Czech Republic, Japan, Malaysia, India, and New Caledonia running primarily Super2000, Group N, or production, rally cars.

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