Galbraith warns of Canterbury bite a year on from failure
Darren Galbraith led Lone Star Rally Canterbury midway through the event this time last year only for his engine to over-heat and the opportunity to win a round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship go begging.
His issues started in Otago where he blew an engine and raced time to get a replacement ready for Whangarei a couple of weeks later. It wasn’t quite right and over-heating was an issue in Whangarei although he managed to keep topping his Mitsubishi up with water to get it through.
Heading to Canterbury last year Galbraith was confident they were over their issues and the early stage times backed that theory up as he shot out to an early lead over eventual winner Matt Summerfield.
“We thought we had fixed the problem but it was the same again and the car kept over-heating and we couldn’t do much about it,” Galbraith said a year on.
“We were about four stages in when we noticed it was using a bit of water. We just kept topping it up with water like we had done in Whangarei but it was using more than we thought and we couldn’t even get to the start of the stage without it sucking water from it.
“We drove through the stage and it got pretty red hot.
“I was fairly disappointed with myself. It was one of those ones where we had it there. It turned out Matt had some problems later in the day.
“It felt like we lost an opportunity to win a round of the championship.”
The popular Galbraith finds himself on the sidelines again this year after a big crash at the season-opening round in Otago.
He will join the NZRC team and will help with the live streaming across the weekend and it predicting a tough test on drivers and cars.
“It appears quite wet again – some sections of road are used three times so it is going to cut up.
“Canterbury is traditionally a war of attrition with so many slippery sections under trees and a lot of people fall off the road.
“There are also water crossings that caught a few people out a couple of years ago. You have to be careful not to drown your engine.
“They are going to have to pace themselves and be there at the end really. It is knowing when to push and when not to push I think.”
But because of the nature of the event it is not really possible to drive within yourself and drivers will have to press on if they want to take maximum points.
“This is the first one day rally and it is essentially a sprint event and could be decided by only a few seconds,” Galbraith explained.
“You have to push hard but be careful at the same time so it is a tricky one.
“It could be one that rewards the brave.”
Meanwhile Galbraith has confirmed his car will be ready for round four of the championship – in his own backyard.
“We are back at South Canterbury – it is our home rally so you have to do it really. We don’t have the budget but I feel we had to be there,” he said.
“It is the first time it has been in the championship for I don’t know how long and I grew up on many of those roads so I’m really looking forward to that.”
The 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship is proudly supported by Brian Green Property Group, Gull New Zealand, Dunlop New Zealand, Hella New Zealand and Stadium Finance