At last weekend's Rally Wairarapa Team Dilusi had some big expectations riding on their shoulders to continue the pace they showed at their home event in Whangarei last month.
This latest event was the 2nd Round of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) and covered 253 kilometres of Special Stages over Saturday and Sunday on the tight, twisty and very technical roads around the Masterton district.
Team driver, Kingsley Thompson set out with the intention of simply learning the roads and securing some all important Championship Points. The Kiwi/Aussie pairing of Kingsley Thompson and John Allen were realistic in their expectations as all the other teams had competed at the venue in previous years and Team Dilusi had not. Having to write their Pacenotes from scratch on Friday was a tall order and no previous experience on these roads would prove to be a definite disadvantage.
"This rally was the one event where we knew we would struggle to be competitive as we haven't done this rally before, so to win the first stage outright was a pleasant surprise for us" stated Thompson.
The surprise early lead didn't last long, Stage 3 unfortunately saw the boys suffer a left front puncture which meant the team had to drive the remaining four kilometres out of the stage with no tyre at all, costing them time. The next three stages the car developed an engine misfire and couldn't be rectified until the afternoon service. The boys fought back in the afternoon to salvage as much time as they could.
"Clocking 228km/h down one gravel stretch in the first stage this morning was certainly an eye opener, I was definitely wanting to brake way earlier than Kingsley did!" confesses Allen.
After sorting the Day 1 issues the Team were ready to head into Day 2 with their sights set on capturing another podium finish. The morning stages started well with the team achieving a 2nd fastest time on the first stage and securing top 5 times in the rest of the stages moving them into 3rd overall by the final service with two stages to run.
A wee high speed encounter with a tree in the penultimate stage saw the boys have to recover and drive the remaining stage with a broken windscreen and damaged car. They were relieved to get the car to the finish in Masterton after what was a very trying weekend.
The team's ability to persevere means that they now sit in 5th place in the Championship so will head to Rally Otago looking to redeem some points and climb back up the leader board in the 'Brian Green Property Group' 2012 NZ Rally Championship powered by 'Brother'.
A special thanks to team supporters Keith Andrews Trucks, Repco Kerikeri, Jim Russ Panelbeaters, Juiced Magazine and Speary & Co. Plus of course all the service crew for their hard work and dedication!