July 6, 2007, 6.30pm. Top seed Glenn Smith looks likely to get his wish in tomorrow’s Taranaki Tarmac Rally.
The Hawera driver said today that if it rains, he thinks he’ll have a better chance of repeating his recent win on tarmac roads in the Waitomo Rally.
Smith says he’s not confident that his Subaru Impreza WRX STi will have the power to outrun Joe McAndrew’s Nissan Skyline GTR and some of the other fast cars in his home province rally.
Last this afternoon, rain was falling steadily in Taranaki and there looked little likelihood of much improvement tomorrow.
Smith says he’s confident the team has overcome the braking problems that saw him lose effective braking after 10 to 12 kilometres into the special stages.
Smith says the Sam Murray team which runs the car had found a fault in the brake master cylinder.
He has also opted to switch to his proven gravel-spec braking system.
He had been hoping to run six-pot callipers but they couldn’t be fitted within the 17-inch wheels he’s using.
“We’ve gone to the grave brakes but with a different booster.”
Smith says that with generally much longer special stages in Taranaki, he will have to be careful in his brakes usage to ensure they last the distance.
“Although the stages are tighter and that may help (reduce brake wear). It’s the fast stuff where you are doing hard braking for tight corners (that the brakes wear excessively). That puts the heat into them.
“I’m pretty sure, though, that we’ve got (the brakes) fixed.
“I still think that the car’s a bit down on power, so if it rains I think we’ve got a reasonably good chance. But in the dry…there are a lot of competitive cars in the event”
He’ll be keeping an especially close eye on Glen Inkster in an Andrew Hawkeswood Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.
Two years ago, when Smith won the rally in an Evo 8, Inkster beat him on the final stage, driving an Evo 3. “And I thought I had done a pretty good job in there.
“He was fast on the tarmac in the Daybreaker rally, and he might be one to watch out for.”