Mitsubishi Lancer Evo driver Dean Sumner has put in a solid string of top five stage times to grab an eight-second lead in the Hawke’s Bay Rally
August 4, 2007, 12.30pm. Rotorua driver Dean Sumner leads the New Zealand Championship Rally of Hawke’s Bay after the first three special stages run in the northern part of the province.
Sumner has his Evo 9 Mitsubishi Lancer 7.9 seconds ahead of Subaru Impreza WRX STi driver Sam Murray.
Sumner was the second-fastest national series competitor on the first stage this morning, 4.6 seconds off the pace of fellow Vo 9 driver and Hawke’s Bay local Stewart Taylor.
Sumner turned that deficit into 1.6 second lead on the following test, with Murray third.
The big mover, though, was Hayden Paddon (Evo 8) who son the stage in a blistering 16 minutes 11.0 seconds, shaving six-tenths of a second off the stage record set by national champion Richard Mason last year. Mason isn’t competing in Hawke’s Bay this year, honoring his commitments to the Chinese rally championship.
Paddon had been off the pace in SS1, unable to see satisfactorily on a stage that started in the dark. He had been 16th overall, 39.2 seconds off the stage-winning pace of n on-champoionship runner Andrew Hawkeswood (Lancer Evo).
Top seeded Brett Martin (Evo 9) won SS3, from Murray and Dylan Turner (Evo 9).
After the first three stages, the overall order was: Sumner, Murray, Taylor, Turner, Martin and Paddon.
Emma Gilmour (WQRX) ran eight behind Lancer Evo 7 driver Nathan Thomas.
Mark Tapper led the Ford Fiesta Challenge class, from points lead Kayne Barrie and Glenn Inkster who was having his first start in the category.
Andrew Keighley (Honda CRX del Sol) led the Kiwi 2 section from D