June 2, 2007, 1.15pm. Reigning New Zealand rally champion Richard Mason has overcome “some issues” that affected his Subaru Impreza WRX STi’s performance during this morning’s stages, to surge into the lead of the Wairarapa Rally.
Mason went into the fourth special stage, the 44.52km of Manuhara Road, in third place, behind rally leader Nathan Thomas (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7) and Brett Martin (Evo 9).
But the BNT Impreza driver produced one of his trademark blindingly-fast performances in Stage 4, winning it in 31 minutes 31.0 seconds, taking 22 seconds off second-fastest Thomas, and moving into the rally lead.
He’s now 8.4 seconds ahead of Thomas on overall elapsed time, with Dean Sumner third in an Evo 9.
Also closer to the pace is Emma Gilmour who struggled for pace in her brand-new Impreza during this morning’s stages. Provisional times for SS4 put her sixth-fastest on the long test.
More soon. There are communication problems between the Rally Headquarters in Masterton and the stage finish in remote country.