Turner Cruises Into Championship Campaign

Hanging about in the Sydney airport last weekend on the way back to NZ after a recent holiday, I caught up with NZRC contender Dylan Turner. So over a cold drink [bundy and coke of course], we chatted about 2015 and Dylan’s return to the NZRC, his old cars and something about the “Reads”.

Firstly we would like to welcome you back in 2015 Dylan, what has brought you back to the NZRC this year and what are your plans?
Thanks…I’m really excited. I just felt it was time to have one last crack at the NZRC, I am not getting any younger and my businesses keep me very busy, so it just felt like this year was the year. But I do think we need to be realistic. We aren’t driving the kilometres we have in the past, so for Whangarei we will be starting out with a good steady pace and once we are comfortable, we will up the pace as the team gels [more later about this]. We’ve spread a lot of fibreglass [guards] about up there in the past, so we intend to keep them on the car this year and enjoy the event. The roads are great esp the ones that are on the Rally of the North stages on day one.

Whangarei sees the debut of a new co-driver for you… what are the plans there?
Yeah for sure, we have Blair Read on board for round one due to Malcolm not being available as he is on APRC duties with Mike Young. Blair is obviously the brother of Malcolm, so I am comfortable he can “download” the in-car data and we can be on the case from stage 1. For rounds 2- 6 we will be looking to have Malcolm back in the car and team.

You’ve been away cruising and relaxing, so while away what’s been happening with the car prep and anything new?
Hopefully Gary [Capper} has been busy getting it ready, while I have been enjoying the odd Bundy and Coke while away on the cruise. To be honest, there is not a lot to do other than just a good check as the car has been going really well lately. Since we sorted the blocked oil feed that robbed us of a good finish at Rally of the North… we’ve had one outing for a fun day and the car went really good, so it’s back in the shed being prepped. The only new stuff on the car is we have updated the “look” of the car in 2015 with some new vinyl and design.

What’s your opinion of the championship this year?
WOW [after filling him in on the potential entrants], that’s a pretty good field of top runners. It’s going to be a real scramble for the top 5 positions and this is great news for NZ rallying. I’m really excited as it will really push us all to up our pace. I remember back in the GrpN days, learning to have corner pace was where it was at, so hopefully I can lean on some of that “old style” I learnt in my old Evo9 back in those days, and use the power we have in our new LJ Hooker Evo9 to tussle for the top 5 regularly.

Speaking of your old Evo9… most people will think you have a new car, but you mean the car that tripped up a few years back in Waitomo, what happened to that car?

The old Evo9 RS that "tripped up".

The old Evo9 RS that “tripped up”.

It was a real big trip that’s for sure, ask Mal Peden… as he was co-driving for me. End for end down the road flat in 5th, a local who saw it was quite impressed by the height we had, but the hits were huge and I spent a bit of time in the local Hospital. My wallet took a huge hit too as the car was toast, it was ripped open like a can. It was sold in its damaged stage to another team who took parts off it to put into their other cars, so parts of it still run about today. It was a good car that, built from a brand new Evo9 RS. I took a few years off after that… but the bug bit and I came back and now we have the ex-Stewart Taylor Evo8, updated to the rules with lots of go fast bits.

One of the funniest photos is of you and Malcolm in Otago, wearing googles. That was an event that had its highs, lows and laughter. But that’s how you approach it… rallying is fun and to be enjoyed.

Ari provides advice on how to crash...

Ari provides advice on how to crash…

Heck yeah, that was weird event. First night stage we flung it off 13km into stage one… my lights weren’t setup and to be fair, I just didn’t see where the road was going. TV3 showed it on the news as I did yelp a bit as it went off. The boys put in a huge effort and got us out the next day. Then on stage 13 we put it off the road and onto its roof. Ari Vatanen was running that Otago Classic Rally, and he pulled up to us later in the day and asked what happened. His comment was “next time go faster and you will roll onto your wheels…”. So we ran with goggles for the rest of that day and had a great laugh… but I was really not keen to sit in row 13 on the flight back home… as you could understand.

They are calling our names to board now… so it’s time to head back to NZ.

So thanks to Dylan for his time and we look forward to seeing the “Turminator” [see here why he’s called that] back in the 2015 NZRC!!


About The Author


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