Rally Wairarapa Midday Update: Mason leads
Masterton driver Richard Mason holds the advantage at midday in the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa, round 4 of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ.
A dominant start to the rally with fastest time in the opening 33 kilometre test, 49.6 seconds quicker than Nelson’s Ben Hunt gave Richard the initial upperhand, which he has continued to stretch over the following four stages, to lead by 1 minute 59.4 seconds as the cars head to the midday service at the Copthorne Solway Park in Masterton.
Hunt holds second despite some early issues with his Subaru’s handling. Tauranga’s David Holder is a further 1 minute 27.7 seconds behind Hunt in third place. Fourth overall is Te Arohas Graeme Featherstone with Canterbury’s Matt Summerfield rounding out the top five.
If Richard and co-driving wife Sara can hold their position over this afternoon’s remaining four stages they will secure the 2014 National Rally title on home soil. This would also be Richards fifth national title, a record in the NZ Rally Championship.
Leading the class battles are Hawkesbay’s Max Bayley in 2WD, Cambridge’s Brent Taylor in open 2WD, leading classic competitor is Kaiapoi’s Marcus Van Klink, and in the Gull Rally Challenge Timaru’s Darren Galbraith currently holds the initiative.
A tough morning for several crews with Lance Williams who was second in the championship heading into this event having an offroad excursion in special stage one. Dunedin’s Emma Gilmour rolled on special stage two in her Suzuki Swift.