Campbell back on the pace at Canterbury
Tauranga’s Phil Campbell has recorded his best result of the 2014 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ after a strong performance at round three, Rally Canterbury, over the weekend.
Campbell and co-driver Venita Fabbro headed to the event after a tough Rally Otago, where car problems and illness kept them down the leaderboard. That result left them keen to return to the speed shown at the opening round, Rally Whangarei, where a podium finish went begging only after clutch failure.
The rally started with two stages on Saturday night held under the cover of darkness in frosty conditions, providing challenging conditions for all. Campbell struggled in the darkness, but survived the treacherous conditions to sit eighth as the cars were locked away overnight.
Stage three, the first daylight stage of the event, saw lots of frost and patches of ice on the road, but that didn’t stop Campbell who powered The Roofing Store Mitsubishi Evo 9 to the third fastest time, instantly rocketing him into the top five.
Three consecutive fifth fastest stage times on the ultra-fast stages four, five and six, where the Group N specification Mitsubishi lacked power compared to its rivals, saw Campbell move into a strong fourth place heading into the final service, with only two forestry stages remaining.
Although Campbell recorded two sixth fastest times on the final stages, a strong run from Lance Williams saw Campbell drop back to a still creditable fifth place and with plenty of encouragement heading to the next round, Rally Wairarapa, at the end of the month.
“It was certainly a big and much needed step up in speed from Otago,” said Campbell. “I’ve always struggled at night, but the speed on Sunday, particularly on the public road stages, we are really happy with. I can’t wait to get on some more public road stages at Wairarapa and have a good run.”
Campbell now sits seventh equal in the New Zealand Rally Championship standings after three of the six rounds.