Auckland rally fastman Andrew Hawkeswood returns to the Race to the Sky this Easter intent on being fastest Kiwi for a third year in succession.
March 30, 2007, 10,30am. Though he’s the odds-on favourite to be fastest NZ driver in the Race to the Sky for a third year running, Aucklander Andrew Hawkeswood is sounding a note of caution.
He’s been fastest New Zealander for the past two years, winning the Possum Borne Memorial Trophy.
He’s back at the hill this Easter with his Fuso sponsored 810bhp Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 hillclimb special, but says another top result is no foregone conclusion.
“It all comes down to the day,” he says. “You can put in all the preparation you want but it only takes a split-second loss of concentration or a gear failure for it to all end in tears.
“And a lot can happen in a split-second in this car.”
In 2006, Hawkeswood finished second overall in eight minutes 28.71 seconds.
This year he plans to go quicker again. “I made a few mistakes last year, they probably cost us six to eight seconds. We’ve done a bit more work in the engine to get us out of some of those tight hairpins quicker so hopefully it’s just down to me getting it right.”
Hawkeswood says any chance of winning the event outright depends on what happens to Japanese driver and defending champion Nobuhiro (Monster) and his Suzuki special.
“His car is just in a different league,” says Hawkeswood. “He’ll need to have some bad luck for us to beat him.
“I said after last year we won’t be able to beat him in this car. We’ve got the plans drawn up for a new one. It’s just a matter of finding the time to get into it.”
The Race to the Sky will be decided on Sunday, April 8.