Auckland rally driver James Holder and co-driver Richard Ellis won the front-wheel drive Kiwi 2 class on Leg 1 of the Rally of Hawke's Bay on July 29
The Toyota Corolla Levin driver won four of the day's six special stages.
After a closely fought battle with the Kiwi 2 Honda Integra of Glen Inkster and co-driver Glen Goldring, Holder and Ellis picked up maximum points, further cementing their top three position in the championship.
“It was pretty tight for most of the day with Inky hot on our heels right up until the finish,” said Holder.
“Going into the final stage with just an eight-second lead we knew we had to pick up the pace to take the win”.
He finished more than 30 seconds clear of Inkster.
Holder went into Leg 2 on the Sunday quietly confident of securing another podium finish.
He consolidated his lead and on the day's first test, and was pushing for another quick on the second when, 4km from the end of the stage, he cut
a corner and the car's front end sledged off the road and became entangled in a wire fence.
Holder and Ellis eventually freed the Corolla and went on to complete the rest of the stages, winning the final test by 17 seconds from series leader Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz).
However after losing more than 30 minutes and exceeding their maximum lateness Holder and Ellis were excluded from the Leg 2 results.
“We had the notes sorted and felt pretty comfortable with the pace," said Holder. “There’s always room for improvement, and we’ll be looking forward to giving it another shot at Wairarapa (at the end of August)."