Taihape's Brett Martin has survived a tough, testing Nelson Rally to retain his 2nd place overall, in the 2006 Parker Enzed Rally championship.
. Martin and co driver "Crunch" Bennett had hoped for an outright rally win to cap their 2006 campaign off, but the rocky Nelson roads soon put paid to this aspiration. Their Evo 9 drift wide on the 2nd stage of Saturdays tests hitting a rocky bank heavily with the left rear wheel, which damaged the hub and suspension arm as well as breaking the wheel. This combined with 50 seconds in time penalties imposed for lateness on the touring sections between stages, due to tight touring time schedules and traffic holdups, relegated the pair to 6th place at the end of day one. Those penalties were the difference between 3rd and 6th place so proved to be quite expensive.
Day two saw the Martin Rallysport team putting in consistant top 4 stage times until a large rock which was flicked onto the road by competitors running ahead, was struck which bent the steering arm on their Mitsubishi, thus slowing their progress back up the rally leader-board. The Argyle rallysport prepared Evo 9 ran faultlessly and as the stage timesheets showed, was upto setting top stage times had they not had the damaged suspension problems which upset handling on several occasions. Despite these set backs, Martin managed to finish the second day of the rally in 2nd place behind overall rally winner, Rotorua's Dean Sumner, thus giving Martin enough points to retain his second place behind Mason in the national championships. This to follow up a 3rd in last years championship title race.
Team owner Ross Martin acknowledges the help and support given by sponsors: Ancare N.Z. Ltd; AMP Finance, MRF Tyres, Argyle Rallysport, Advanced Engineering, Chris Joblin Toyota and Andy's Screenprint and Signs Wanganui and Ralliart N.Z. It is hoped that the team can grow on the success of this season and with support from sponsors can mount a challenge for the overall crown in 2007.