Hawkeswood looks to step up speed at Coromandel


The exciting Mazda 2 has undergone further testing ahead of round five. Photo: Euan Cameron

Andrew Hawkeswood returns to the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ for the penultimate round of the series, the VINZ Goldrush Rally Coromandel, looking to step up the speed after some recent testing and development.

Hawkeswood has had an interrupted championship campaign in 2014 with his new Mazda 2 and after missing the most recent round with engine damage, the Aucklander has taken the opportunity to revise the engine package in the car.

As well as working on the engine, the team have been busy working on the suspension of the Mazda with both Mark Tapper and Richard Mason joining Hawkeswood in a test session recently in the Maramarua Forest.

With some strong changes made to the car, Hawkeswood is looking forward to competing in a new area which hasn’t seen rallying action in some 35 years and will team up with the experienced Jeff Cress, his third different co-driver in as many events.

Being out of championship contention, it is likely that this will be Hawkeswood’s last appearance of the season, with five-time champion Mason scheduled to drive the Mazda at the final round of the championship in the Manawatu.

“We had a really good test the other week, the Mazda now has a lot more traction and with the revised engine it is going really well,” says Hawkeswood. “It should be a good event, hopefully we can finish off the season on a high.

The VINZ Goldrush Rally Coromandel gets underway with a ceremonial start in Whitianga from 4.30pm on Friday. The following day sees the gravel action with teams leaving the Mercury Bay Multi-Sports Park at 7am to contest 135km of special stages punctuated by three services at the Sports Park. Crews will also contest the Whitianga Waterways Super Special Stage twice before the ceremonial finish at approximately 4pm.


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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