Rally Canterbury goes West for Westy

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Westy and co-driver Chris Cobham were winners at last years Canterbury Rally, but will miss the 2014 event following their Rally Otago off. Photo: Euan Cameron

Timaru’s Chris West will miss the third round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship driven by VINZ, Rally Canterbury, as a result of damage sustained in a massive crash at Rally Otago.

West, driving the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, headed to the most southern round of the NZRC looking to improve on a disappointing  fifth place recorded at round one, Rally Whangarei, and despite an early morning puncture and brake issues, West sat in fourth place at the first service, less than ten seconds away from second place.

With repairs made, West displayed the form that delivered him the 2004 New Zealand Rally Championship as he charged through the afternoon stages south of Dunedin, pushing the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X to a strong second place by the end of the opening day.

While the opening day had ended on a high note, day two’s opening stage resulted in a major low for West and co-driver Chris Cobham when they suffered a high speed crash.

“There’s little room for any distraction or error at that speed. Unfortunately  we were wide on the outside of a long right over a crest, said West. “It was one of those situations that you more often than not you get away with, but we hit a tree stump and rolled four and a half times.”

The incident saw the stage stopped and although both West and Cobham received medical attention, the pair were both cleared of any major injuries. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the car and with only weeks between events, both West & Cobham will be forced to miss the event that they won last season.

“With the smallest gap between events in the championship calendar between Otago & Canterbury, there was no chance we could make it to the start line of Canterbury in time. The team are looking in to what options are available moving forward.”

       

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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 2019, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Otago.