Nelson’s Ben Hunt holds a one-point lead in the NZRC after clinching second place in the Rally of Canterbury yesterday.
Driving his Subaru STI, Hunt finished 55 seconds behind Timaru’s Chris West, with fellow Dunlop rallyer Matt Jansen in third.
It was another heartbreaking round for defending champion Richard Mason, who led the nine-stage rally until misfortune struck close to the finish, relegating him to tenth place.
Mason’s hard luck was Hunt’s advantage - his 21-point haulage puts him at the head of the championship on 89 points, with the absent but looming Hayden Paddon on 88.
“We were happy to be third, so to finish one better is fantastic, considering we didn’t have fifth gear from the second special stage in the morning,” said Hunt.
“It makes the championship pretty exciting and we’re looking forward to the next round with Hayden returning.”
Dunlop motorsport manager Richard Fraser said it’s great to see Rally of Canterbury as part of the NZRC for the first time since 2000.
“It’s always been an exciting event, with demanding stages through north Canterbury’s Ashley and Okuku forestry blocks,” said Richard.
“The hard surfaces and fast-flowing roads put the drivers and tyres to the test, with all the Dunlop teams proving up to the challenge.”
The next round is the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally in south Auckland on 7 September.
2013 Brian Green Property Group NZRC
1. Ben Hunt, Nelson, 89
2. Hayden Paddon, Geraldine, 88
3. Chris West, Timaru, 77
4. Richard Mason, Masterton, 66
5. Matt Summerfield, Rangiora, 35