Two former champs will battle it out in Nelson
Hayden Paddon may have already wrapped up the 2008 Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship, but second place will be decided in a needle match between two former champions at Nelson this weekend.
BNT Subaru Impreza WRX STi driver, Richard Mason, is currently second, five points ahead of Chris West (Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9).
And also in with a chance of a podium finish is Hasting driver, Stewart Taylor, who has driven his Evo 9 to a string of third placings in a season he had originally planned to give a miss.
Emma Gilmour has hit her straps again in the Vantage WRX STi, and is another driver likely to be among the front-runners on the Nelson forestry roads.
Past Nelson Rally winner, Dean Sumner, returns in his Evo 9. Brett Martin (Evo 9) and Callum McInnes (WRX) are other front-runners entered for Nelson.
Wellington’s Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz-Type R) has a commanding lead in the Kiwi-2 two-wheel drive class, only needing a finish to take the title. Cook won the crown in 2006.
The Nelson Rally uses 199km of special stages on roads in the Redwood Valley and Golden Downs forests.
Conditions vary from hard-based roads strewn with sharp rocks, to mud and slush in wet areas or where there is heavy logging activity.
After a ceremonial start in Nelson on Saturday, rallying begins at 7.30am Sunday.
The first car is expected to finish at the World of Wearable Arts around 4:50pm.
NZ Rally Championship points standings
Hayden Paddon (Geraldine) 252; Richard Mason (Masterton) 196; Chris West (Christchurch) 191; Stewart Taylor (Hastings) 186; Brett Martin (Masterton) 152; Emma Gilmour (Rotorua)
122; Callum McInnes (Tauranga) 120; Sloan Cox (Rotorua) 105; Andre Meier (Cambridge) 103; Dean Sumner (Rotorua) 98.
Boxman Rally of Nelson seeding list
1. Richard Mason-Sara Mason, Subaru Impreza WRX STi
2. Chris West-Garry Cowan, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
3. Brett Martin-Grant Marra, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
4. Stewart Taylor-Warwick Searle, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
5. Dean Sumner-Paul Fallon, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9
6. Emma Gilmour-Glenn Macneall, Subaru Impreza WRX STi
7. Callum McInnes-David Calder, Subaru Impreza WRX STi
8. Sloan Cox-Tarryn Cox, Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8
9. Aaron Cook-Jayson Stringer, Honda Jazz-Type R
10. Patrick Malley-Raymond Bennett, Ford Fiesta