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Double victory for Mason in Wairarapa Rally


Masterton's Richard Mason has taken a double victory at his home rally - winning the overall Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa and the 2006 championship driver's title.

Masterton's Richard Mason has taken a double victory at his home rally - winning the overall Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa and the 2006 championship driver's title.

The penultimate round of the 2006 Parker ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship concluded with today's second leg of the Wairarapa event. Despite the weather woes in the adjacent Wellington province, Masterton again bucked the forecast - with sunshine dominating the cold wind coming from the Tararua ranges.

Building on his day one victory, defending rally champion Richard Mason was again in the top bracket despite the pressure of needing to place in the top-3 in order to reclaim the drivers crown. Winning the opening 14.9km stage he kept ahead of the majority of his rivals - Chris West (Subaru Impreza) the only one to better his efforts.

In the third stage Mason's main championship rival Sam Murray (Subaru Impreza) left the road - removing the pressure from Mason.

"We just went wide, touched a tree with the back guard - which spun the front round and we went down in to a bit of a creek," explained Murray. Out of the event, Mason had enough of a point's difference to claim his second successive championship victory - and took co-driver Sara Mason to her first title.

While West won the remaining stages for the day, Mason didn't lessen the charge - the biggest gap accrued in the final stage put him 4.6 seconds behind for the day, but 25.3 seconds ahead for the overall rally. For his efforts West (Subaru Impreza) picked up 32 championship points for the day.

"We realised we couldn't make up the 30 seconds we lost in yesterday's leg so all we did was make sure we had enough to win today," said the former champion.

For Mason however, successive victory at his home event was additional reward for wrapping up the championship.

"It certainly is nice - we were prepared to give away the rally win this weekend, but circumstances fell in to our hands really and we ended up wining the rally - it's awesome."

Sporting uncharacteristic panel damage on his Subaru Impreza, Mason explained how he came to dent the front left guard in the morning's opening stage: "Really it was a matter I thought I could take the corner in fourth but really I should have been in's alright, they're still making panels."

At 20-years of age, Sara Randall becomes the youngest rally champion as Mason's co-driver: "Oh yeah, it feels really really good," she said during the finish ceremony.

Third for the day and third overall for the event, Brett Martin claimed a successive event podium position - the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 team 47.7s behind West after the sixth stage.

Behind Martin was Dunedin's Emma Gilmour, her back-to-back weekend's of WRC competition resulting in an increased pace in her Subaru Impreza.
"It took a bit of getting used to yesterday morning, but we've been a lot more at home with it today. We had an enjoyable weekend and the roads were fantastic."

Breaking the Subaru deadlock was a succession of Mitsubishi's, with Hayden Paddon fifth, Dean Sumner sixth and Stewart Taylor seventh.

Shaking up the Junior and Rookie championship titles, Hayden Paddon (Geraldine) closing the gap on current leader Patrick Malley (Hastings), the pair of Lancer EVO 8 drivers separated by five points heading in to the final round.

An off-road excursion on Saturday changed the Rookie standings, Hawke's Bay driver Stewart Taylor handing the lead to Hayden Paddon with Patrick Malley and father Dermott Malley close behind.

Kiwi-2 was very processional - Kapiti's Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz) extending his grip on the overall title, 53 points ahead of second placed Glenn Inkster (Honda Integra). Cook won all stages for the second leg to only be 12.2s ahead of current champion Dave Strong (Honda Civic) after 211.76km of competition for the day.

His home rally, Cook said the aim is to 'drive sensibly' at the final round to clinch the title.
"We've had a great weekend - a good result both days. Now we've just got to keep it on the road and drive sensibly at Nelson."

Chasing down Cook, who is driving his old car, Dave Strong finished his first complete round for the 2006 season. "At the end of the weekend we were competitive - which was encouraging. But we're a long way down on where we were last year." Strong is placed seventh for the Kiwi-2 category.

Finishing behind Strong for the day was James Holder (Toyota Levin), with Glenn Inkster (Honda Integra) fourth and Reg Cook (Nissan Pulsar) fifth.

Assessing options and point scenario's, the NZRC teams have four weeks until the final round for 2006 - the 0800 Boxman Rally of Nelson (22-24 September 2006).

Provisional placings for leg 2: Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa (Sunday 27th August 2006)
Group N (overall)
1. Chris West (Subaru Impreza) 50:00.9
2. Richard Mason (Subaru Impreza) 50:05.5
3. Brett Martin (Mitsubishi Lancer 9) 50:48.6
4. Emma Gilmour (Subaru Impreza) 51:09.5
5. Hayden Paddon (Mitsubishi Lancer 8) 51:12.3
6. Dean Sumner (Mitsubishi Lancer 8) 51:35.7
7. Stewart Taylor (Mitsubishi Lancer 9) 52:14.1
8. Dylan Turner (Mitsubishi Lancer 9) 52:27.4

1. Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz) 55:11.7
2. Dave Strong (Honda Civic) 55:23.9
3. James Holder (Toyota Levin) 56:21.9

Overall placings for Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa (26-27 August 2006)
1. Richard Mason (Masterton) 2:09:04.2
2. Chris West (Auckland) 2:09:29.5
3. Brett Martin (Turangi) 2:10:25.0
4. Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) 2:10:33.7
5. Emma Gilmour (Dunedin) 2:11:18.2
6. Hayden Paddon (Geraldine) 2:11:59.0

1. Aaron Cook (Kapiti) 2:21:02.2
2. Dave Strong (Auckland) 2:23:00.5
3. James Holder (Auckland) 2:23:10.1

Points: Parker ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship
Overall Goldstar:
1. Richard Mason 296, 2. Brett Martin 202, 3. Emma Gilmour 188, 4. Sam Murray 183, 5. Chris West 182

1. Aaron Cook 250, 2. Glenn Inkster 197, James Holder 193, 4. Jason West 162

For full results:

Lance Hastie

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