Special Stage 2 of the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa has been cancelled
Clerk of the Course, Dave Davies made the announcement last night.
A section of the road had been washed away, and despite the efforts of the council contractors to fix the road, the road remains unsuitable.
“Basically they weren’t helped by the bad weather we’ve kept getting, and we don’t want to damage the road any more than it already is. It’s in everyones best interests to cancel that section now,” said Davies.
The result for the rally is that an additional service park in Pongaroa will now replace the 9km long Rimu Road competitive section. For those that strike problems in the first competitive stage this will be a blessing in disguise.
Now, the first day of competition will become more like a series of sprints with servicing available after most of the stages. This could see the top runners looking to push harder earlier on.
And, the defending rally winner has withdrawn.
Andrew Hawkeswood is a late withdrawal, meaning that the honour to uphold of 4WD Open Class competitors upsetting the Group N national championship competitors will fall to Geoff Argyle and Glenn Inkster.
Inkster is bred of the Hawkeswood style, aggressive and using all of the road, and then some. His recent success at Whangarei means he is looking to start a trend at Wairarapa.
However it is Argyle with a wealth of experience on these roads. His knowledge from previous competition in the area means he will be the one to beat in the 4WD Open Class.
As Chris West says, "The roads are some of the most technical in the championship - it's important to carry speed whilst being as neat and tidy as possible. They are reasonably twisty and narrow but having said that it is a fast paced rally. That's the character of them, a real driver's rally.”
The likely wet conditions will be a leveller, which means anything could (and probably will happen).