Hamilton, November 17
Double New Zealand champion Richard Mason was the fastest local driver in the opening stage of the 2006 Propecia Rally near Pirongia in the western Waikato this morning.
Mason, driving his BNT Subaru Impreza WRX, was the sixth-quickest Group N standard production driver, 7.3 seconds behind Fumio Nutahara (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9).
Next quickest NZer was former champion Chris West (Impreza WRX), 3.7 seconds behind Mason. West said the stage had been unexpectedly slippery.
Andrew Hawkeswood (Group A Lancer Evo 7) was the third-quickest New Zealander driver, 4.6 seconds off West’s pace.
Then came Emma Gilmour, 22nd overall, and one place behind Hawkeswood.
Lancer Evo drivers Stewart Taylor and Dean Sumner were next-best Kiwis, 22md and 23rd overall.