Changes for Hawkeswood prior to Otago

Hawkeswood_Whangarei2015_Copyright GEOFF RIDDER_GR32261

Andrew Hawkeswoods Mazda 2 showed great pace at the opening round. Photo: Geoff Ridder

Auckland Rally driver Andrew Hawkeswood and his team have been flat out since the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Whangarei, with plenty of preparation and modification being done prior to this week’s Drivesouth Rally Otago.

For Hawkeswood, the opening round of the NZRC was trying at best when a rollover and a misfire halted progress. While the team have been busy repairing the car, they have also found time to fit a new turbo and update the suspension design in the Mazda 2, bringing the car more in line with the newer generation Mazda 2 Hawkeswood will debut later in the season.

The Dunedin-based event is one that has treated Hawkeswood well in the past, with two victories in the allcomers class. Last year, in the NZRC debut of the Mazda 2, only a 30-second time penalty kept Hawkeswood off the podium.

Teaming up again with Jeff Cress, a finish is absolutely critical for Hawkeswood, with one DNF already accounting for the ability to drop a round in the championship. With three precious bonus points, Hawkeswood currently sits in 12th place in the NZRC.

“It’s been a busy time, that’s for sure! The changes to the suspension are all in the arms, it’s about half way to where the new car will be and with the smaller motor in the car, we’ve changed the turbo to help with the drivability of the car,” says Hawkeswood. “But the main thing for the weekend is we have to finish and bank some solid points for the championship.”

The Drivesouth Rally Otago gets underway with a ceremonial start on Friday May 8, with the competitive action getting underway the following day. After eight gravel stages total 130km, crews finish off the day with the traditional tarmac super special stage. The following day sees a further seven special stages totalling 147km with bonus points available on the power stage, the iconic Kuri Bush, which makes up the final stage of the event.


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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