Richard Mason is less than 30 kilometres from the Leg 2 victory in the Wairarapa Rally, and with it the NZ championship lead.
June 3, 2007, 2pm. Richard Mason is heading into the final two stages of the Wairarapa Rally with a 64-second Leg 2 lead and the prospect of taking the lead in the New Zealand championship.
Mason (Subaru Impreza WRX STi) leads from Dean Sumner (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9), with Hayden Paddon (Evo 8) third, another six seconds behind.
If they finish in that order, Mason will have 146 championship points, and Paddon, the current series leader, will have 144.
Even if he passes Sumner, Paddon will still be one point shy of Mason.
Mason has won all six stages run today, and Paddon has been runner-up on two of the last three.
On the most recent test, SS12, Callum McInnes bounced back from his Stage 11 puncture (which cost him 30 seconds and a crack at second place) to be third-fastest behind Mason and Sumner.
Paddon was fourth, dropping 4.3 seconds to Sumner, and reducing his chances of overhauling the ITM Lancer driver.
WRX driver McInnes currently runs fifth behind Patrick Malley’s Lancer.
Sam Murray (WRX), who will retain third place in the championship if he finishes where he is now, is sixth, ahead of Evo drivers Brett Martin and Dylan Turner.
Martin is 3.3 seconds behind Murray with 28.85 kilometres of special stage distance to run.
The two major retirements today, Nathan Thomas and Emma Gilmour went out with a damaged oil cooler and broken gearbox respectively.
Photo caption: Richard Mason in the Whangarei Rally.