Cunningham stoked with Goldrush result

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Clint Cunningham & Greg Ruka attack the Castlerock stage on Saturday. Photo: Mike Peffers/www.alittlebitsideways.co.nz

Clint Cunningham has come away from the penultimate round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, the VINZ Goldrush Rally Coromandel, absolutely stoked after recording a career best fourth placing in his older car.

Having recorded two engine failures in his past two appearances at the top level of the sport so far this season, Cunningham entered the Whitianga based event looking to secure some stage mileage with a goal of cracking the top ten by the end of the event.

The West Auckland driver, paired with fellow Westie Greg Ruka as co-driver, made a strong start despite a small misfire that would plague the car across the day and returned to the first service after two stages sitting in eighth place overall.

But it was in the next four stages that Cunningham made his move in the older RCK Contractors Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 4, setting top five stage times across three of the four stages in a charge that would move him into an almost unbelievable fourth place, but with just 18 seconds advantage over front runner Ben Hunt, who had suffered a puncture earlier in the day.

With only three short stages remaining, Cunningham had no choice but to continue attacking and in the end held off Hunt by 3.8 seconds to take fourth NZRC competitor home, as well as a closely fought ninth after battling with long time mate Lee Robson’s identical Mitsubishi.

“I’m just stoked with the result, everything came together and we were really able to show what we could do, it was a magic event,” said Cunningham, who along with Ruka won the Quad Cycle Challenge as part of the pre-rally build up. “It just kept getting better and better and I really have to thank my team who did a great job to keep us going, this result is for the whole team.”

       

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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.