Dean Sumner, who dropped out of day one of the Otago Rally, came out with guns blazing this morning to equal rally leader Richard mason’s winning time on the first stage of Leg 2.
Dunedin, April 15, 2007, 9.30am. Rally Otago leader Richard Mason continued his string of gravel special stage wins on the first stage of Leg 2 this morning, but for the first time his pace on a loose surface test has been equalled by another driver.
The national champion tore through the Kuri Bush stage in his BNT Subaru Impreza WRX STi in 7 minutes 59 seconds, a time equalled by Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 driver Dean Sumner.
It’s the second stage win by a Lancer in this rally – former champion Chris West won last evening’s tarmac stage in his Evo 6.5 – and the first on gravel.
Sumner retired his ITM Lancer with a blown turbo after SS3 yesterday, and said this morning that he had turned the turbo boost down in the interests of completing the day and winning some championship points.
Emma Gilmour set the second fastest time in her Vantage WRX, one second behind Mason and Sumner. She’s now 27.9 seconds behind Mason on overall elapsed time.
Hayden Paddon was next quickest in his Evo 8, on 8m 06s, followed at one second intervals by Alister McRae (WRX), Brett Martin (Evo 9) and Sam Murray (WRX).
West maintained his strong pace in the old-technology Evo 6.5, netting seventh-fastest stage time with 8m 13s.
Stewart Taylor (Evo 9) and American Ken Block (WRX) completed the top 10.
Mark Tapper continues to be fastest of the Ford Fiesta Challenge drivers, 10 seconds faster through Kuri Bush than Chris Lange.
Kayne Barrie was third-quickest of the front-wheel drive Fords, with 8m 56s. He says he’s having to adjust to the Fiesta’s lesser power and better handling than the Nissan Pulsar in which he’s been a class front-runner in the past couple of seasons.
In Kiwi 2, Aaron Cook was fastest out of the traps in his Type R-powered Honda Jazz, equalling Tapper’s time (8m 44s) and beating Dave Strong (Honda Civic) by eight seconds.
Then came Andrew Keighley (Honda CRX del Sol) and Reg Cook (Nissan Pulsar).