Wandering cattle were an added hazard Dean Sumner had to contend with in today’s leg of the Wairarapa Rally.
June 2, 2007, 9pm. Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 driver Dean Sumner’s third place finish in today first leg of the Wairarapa Rally didn’t come without its problems.
Like a blown rear diff and a puncture on Special Stage 3, a blown turbo manifold gasket, bent suspension, and on SS4, an unexpected meeting with a herd of cows.
He was ruing that encounter this evening as he waited in the gathering chill in the carpark of Masterton’s Solway Park hotel for his car to be released to go to servicing.
It might have ended up being the difference between finishing third and finishing second.
He ended Leg One 14.8 seconds adrift of second-placed Evo 7 driver Nathan Thomas, and reckoned he’d lost about 30 seconds as he negotiated his way past the errant cows that were running down the SS4 road.
He felt that if he hadn’t encountered the cattle, he’d have zipped past then rally leader Thomas and moved into the lead.
Eventual rally winner Richard Mason won that test in 31m 31.5s; Sumner had completed it in 32m 02.1s, Thomas in 31m 53.8s.
It would have been a near thing, but Sumner believes he had the pace to take the rally lead on that stage, and head Mason.
He’d had a split time relayed to him that indicated that half-way through the stage he was faster than Mason.
“Then I got caught behind the cows. Emma (Gilmour) did too and she has in-car footage of it; but the organisers won’t give us an assessed time.”
Sumner put in an inquiry, but rally organisers said there was no mechanism in the rules to award assessed times for such incidents.
So Sumner is looking forward to Leg 2 and roads that he says are more Lancer Evo-friendly.
“Tomorrow will be lots better. They were Subaru stages today.”