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Foreign times for Mason at home rally

 

New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason will sit in his BNT Subaru on the Start Ramp of his home rally - the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa - this Saturday morning (August 26th), in a state of mind very foreign to his normal instincts when it comes to competing in rounds of the Parker-ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC].

New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason will sit in his BNT Subaru on the Start Ramp of his home rally - the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa - this Saturday morning (August 26th), in a state of mind very foreign to his normal instincts when it comes to competing in rounds of the Parker-ENZED New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC].

"As we have always said, we go out there to win rallies and be fastest on as many stages as possible. But this weekend the points lead we have built up [a massive 74 points after just 4 of the 6 round series] means the NZRC Goldstar is staring us right in the face, and literally hanging off the front of 'EVOETA's bonnet."

With 64 points the maximum a round winner can score, Richard knows he will still lead the NZRC after this weekend, regardless of all the action that is sure to occur over the 12 high speed special stages (totaling some 212 kilometres north of Masterton).


However Richard and co-driver Sara Randall will not be at the final round in Nelson in September, as they will be driving in China in the third round of their national championship for the GT Tires Rally Team that same weekend.

"We therefore have to take what is a completely foreign approach for us into this rally, because for once 'Winning will not be everything', whereas finishing all 12 stages is the absolute priority. So getting the BNT Subaru back onto the finish ramp on Sunday afternoon should be enough for us to maintain the key 65 point margin we need to wrap up the Championship here [in Masterton]."

"I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but, as long as we finish, Chris [West] winning this round would suit us just fine, as it will stop our closest rivals taking maximum points. That would then give us even more scope to 'drive with our heads' and simply cover whatever our opposition do, rather than get drawn into a fight with anyone. It definitely will have to be a 'risk free', 'stay out of trouble' weekend, that's for sure!!"

"To have such a realistic chance of taking out our 2nd Gold Star, plus the co-drivers' title, which Sara should have had last year, still with a round to go and in Masterton in front of all our local supporters - would be just superb."

Although Richard and Sara can do this event from home, they are still in for a very busy time as they are heavily involved in local promotional activities throughout this week.

Far and away the most important one being to take someone out for the ride of their life at the pre-rally shakedown on Thursday, as part of a fund-raising effort for a local lady - Raewyn Keen - whose cancer treatment has to be self-funded. The Shakedown ride Richard donated was auctioned last month and raised $600.

"Raewyn's situation really puts things in perspective - we are just trying to win a sporting contest and have fun, while Raewyn is facing a far bigger fight. It's great to be able to do something to help a fellow local, especially when so many of them have done so much to help us get where we are today."

The Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa starts with a welcome function this Thursday evening hosted by His Worship Bob Francis, Mayor of Masterton District Council. This is scheduled for 7.15pm at Copthorne Solway Park.

Teams contest a total of 12 special stages throughout the Northern Wairarapa with Leg One starting from Copthorne at 8am on Saturday August 26th and spending the day based out at Pongaroa covering the first 6 tests.

Sunday will see the cars again depart Copthorne, but this time at 9am, from where they will contest 6 more stages all close to Masterton, starting with Daggs Road at 9.35am. The Rally Finish will be back at Copthorne Solway Park from 2.30pm.

Chris Grant


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