Tough run for Hawkeswood at Whangarei
Andrew Hawkeswood has endured a trying weekend at the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship after a roll-over and a misfire hamstrung his efforts.
Hawkeswood headed to the event with a new engine configuration and looking to score some solid points while his new Mazda 2 is under build. He made the perfect start, holding down third place in the NZRC standings after the Friday night super special stages.
The serious action got underway the following day and Hawkeswood, teaming up with Jeff Cress in the Mazda 2, set top six stage times all morning and by the midday service break had moved to a comfortable fourth place overall.
The afternoon saw Hawkeswood pushing hard, but an error on the day’s penultimate stage saw Hawkeswood leave the road and for the first time in 13 years, rolled his car, forcing him out of the event.
“It was a stupid mistake, simple as that. We noted the corner and I just didn’t give it enough respect. We nosed over the edge and then the back end just took off and we landed fairly hard on our roof. We then had a bit of a fire which got us out of the car pretty quickly!” Hawkeswood explained.
After a big overnight effort by his team that involved sourcing and delivering parts from Auckland, Hawkeswood was able to rejoin the following day and proving his confidence had by no means been dented, set the third fastest time on the day opening power stage to score three bonus points.
Things would take a turn for the worse on the day’s third stage when the car developed a crippling misfire that the team was unable to trace in the service park. Although the car would go the distance, and chance of a strong second leg result was gone.
“It’s certainly been a trying weekend, but now we’ll fix it up and get ready for Otago.”
The next round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Otago, runs on May 8-10.