Campbell makes solid start at Whangarei


Tauranga driver Phil Campbell finished 4th overall at the opening round. Photo: Geoff Ridder


Tauranga’s Phil Campbell has recorded a solid finish at the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Whangarei.

Campbell and co-driver Venita Fabbro headed to round one confident with their speed and after a conservative start on Friday night, the pair laid down some impressive stage times to sit in sixth place, but within a few seconds of fourth place, at the lunchtime service.

The afternoon saw the speed increase further, with three top four stage times, to move The Roofing Store Mitsubishi Evo 9 to fourth by the end of the day and with American driver Ken Block ineligible to score NZRC points, bonus points for third place on the leg.

Day two saw a cautious start on some of the most intimidating rally roads New Zealand has to offer but the consistent approach paid dividends as Campbell maintained position with only three stages to go.

The battle for third in NZRC points saw Campbell lose time to Matt Summerfield on stage 14, and when and incident saw the penultimate stage cancelled, that battle also became the battle for second, with just 4.5 seconds separating the pair after more than 200km of special stages.

Campbell gave it his all over the final 18 kilometres to record a faster time than his rival, but in the end was denied by a tiny 2.4 seconds to come home with third place points.

“All in all, it’s been a pretty awesome start to the season for us, certainly better than last year for us,” said Campbell. “We were confident we had a good package heading to the event and although it would have been better if we’d beaten Matt, it’s still a great start to the season for us.”

Campbell sits third in the New Zealand Rally Championship heading to round two, Rally Otago, on May 8-10.


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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