Hawkeswood makes leaps forward at Goldrush

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Andrew Hawkeswood and the Mazda 2 on stage one with Whitianga in the background. Photo: Euan Cameron

Andrew Hawkeswood has made major strides towards the front of the field in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ at the penultimate round of the series, the VINZ Goldrush Rally Coromandel, held over the weekend.

Hawkeswood went to the event optimistic of a strong result after a successful test prior to the event where new suspension settings were trialled to compliment the new engine package in the Mazda 2 and the changes were immediately effective as he recorded the second fastest time on the opening special stage, then maintained that position entering service after stage two.

Disaster would strike Hawkeswood and co-driver Jeff Cress on the fourth special stage however when a burst brake line made for an exciting run through the twisting, demanding stage with no braking ability whatsoever. In the end, over three minutes were lost and any chance of a podium finish went with it as he dropped to 10th place.

Having climbed back up to sixth place, Hawkeswood had a sniff of fifth place heading into the final forestry stage but a puncture cost a further minute, although thankfully no further positions. In a case of what might have been, the Aucklander came home less than two and a half minutes from the lead, having lost more than four minutes between the puncture and brake line failure.

“There is certainly plenty to be happy about from the weekend, although coming down through the 309 road with no brakes was certainly no fun at all,” said Hawkeswood. “There are still a few things to chase with the car but it is certainly a different car to drive and it is pleasing to know we are heading in the right direction with the car.”

The team now prepare the car for the final round of the NZRC, the Daybreaker Rally in the Manawatu, where it is anticipated Richard Mason will take the wheel of the Mazda.

       

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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.