NZRC Driver Feature: Walker Brothers

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Dan Walkers Subaru Impreza he will camaign in 2015 with co-driver Jeremy Dawson. Photo: Stephen Russell

Dan Walker has been one of the biggest supporters of Category 5 – The Gull Rally Challenge, having contested the class every year since it was introduced for the 2013 season in his older Mitsubishi Evo. 2015 sees Walker moving into a newer generation Subaru Impreza and bringing brother Jono along as a team mate in his Mitsubishi Evo 4 under the Team Walker Motorsport banner. We caught up with Dan to check-in on his plans for the 2015 season.

“I’ve had a second and a third, so I need to take it out. Then I thought I might as well bring my brother along as well, have a two car team and have a good time. It should be good,” states Dan on the season ahead.

Despite the class gaining more entries and some fast car and driver combinations, Walker is confident of challenging for the class title. “I think in this car it’s looking promising with the results we’ve had from a few rally sprints so far. With the new car hopefully we can take it out.”

The 2015 season has seen Dan move from his Mitsubishi Evo 3 into a later model Impreza and has already found plenty of differences between the old and new cars. “It’s got heaps more power, it’s night and day. It’s like sitting in an armchair compared to the old Evo, the Evo you had to really fight to drive it and with the different suspension in the Subaru, it’s just a dream to drive.”

Dan also explained to us why he enjoys that Category 5 format which sees competitors competing on only the first day of the two day events. “It’s cheaper and more in my budget, I reckon it’s just as much fun for half the price. Everyone can get involved without taking all that extra time off and all that so it’s quite good.”

But it doesn’t mean the West Aucklander isn’t looking at challenging the front runners in the coming years. “We thought we’d stick with Category 5 this year and see what our times are like with the big boys and perhaps have a full swing (Category 1 – 4WD) next year. It’s a case of getting a bit more seat time, we’ve only done a few of the events so it’ll be good to learn the events and the car before we jump straight in. There’s still lots to learn on this car.”

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Brother Jono will also contest the NZRC Challenge Category in his Lancer Evo 4. Photo: Jason Byrne

 

Despite series regulations only requiring competitors to compete in four events of the six scheduled, both Walker brothers have committed to a full six-round campaign including a first-time visit to the South Island events, Otago and Canterbury.

“Otago is the only one I’m a bit hesitant on, I’ve heard some stories that it’s real big balls stuff with all the crests and bridges and everything but I am looking forward to something new. It’ll be a good experience and one to tick off the list.”

We’re certainly looking forward to seeing the attacking style and colourful nature that both Dan and Jono will bring to the championship in 2015.

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The Walker Team on top of the podium for Category 5 at Rally Whangarei 2014.

 

       

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ABOUT THE NZRC

 
The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2019, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Otago.

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