2WD Rally Challenge mid-season update

The 2WD Rally Challenge championship has been a difficult one for many competitors and that has led to a wide-open championship fight to crown a winner over the final two rounds of the season.

The class is designed to give competitors a stepping-stone into a bigger campaign in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship in the future.

The 2023 season got off to a bumpy start for regular competitor over the past couple of seasons Sam Byrne. Bay of Plenty-based Byrne was due to kick off his campaign at the season opener, but rebuild delays and logistical issues meant he would be forced to withdraw from the season opener.

He was the only competitor in the class set to tackle the two-day rally.

Byrne was the only competitor to enter Rally Whangarei in May as well but he was forced out of the event with a mechanical failure in his Mitsubishi Lancer in the morning loop on day 1.

That meant that after our first two events, not a single championship point had been registered by any competitor.

Round 3 at Rally South Canterbury saw the field explode to life with three competitors join the championship including last year’s champion Jonty Brenssell, who returned to the class in his Toyota Starlet.

Brett Maddren made it two Starlets over the start ramp while Jared Parker entered the class in his Toyota Corolla.

Brenssell was the quickest through the opening stage but was forced to retire after the stage due to a broken axle.

That left Maddren to take control of the class lead.

Parker beat Maddren in the Kakahu Forest stage but otherwise it was all Maddren, who ended up with eight stage wins across the day.

He takes 30 competition points into the final two rounds with Parker back on 26. Byrne is likely to factor into the calculations, while Brenssell is super-fast and more than capable of winning the title.


About The Author


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 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill