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Hawkins' Motorsport

 

Tapper eyes 4WD rally return

Moves are afoot to ensure that former Mitsubishi front-runner Mark Tapper returns to the Group N four-wheel drive class within the New Zealand Rally Championship this season.

Tapper was cautious when questioned about the possibility of him returning with a front running car, but he agreed that there is a strong chance that he will drive a “really good’’ late model four-wheel drive car for a well-known team.

“We’re working on it, but we still need a budget. We have some budget, but we still need more. I really want to concentrate on my driving, fitness and rallying, so until we get the budget necessary I won’t start,’’ said Tapper.

Tapper and fellow Kiwi Kayne Barrie had disappointing conclusions to their Fiesta Sporting Trophy campaigns when the car they had arranged to share in the United Kingdom turned out to be down on power.

The engine was later found to have bent valves. The organisers arranged for the pair to use another car for their final runs, but this turned out to be left-hand drive and, because Barrie hadn’t rallied a left drive car previously, he decided it wasn’t worth the risk.

Tapper says that six other drivers had used the left drive car during the day, and he had recorded the fastest time at the halfway split on the rallysprint course, but shortly after the gearbox seized, causing him to slide off the road.

“It was unfortunate for us, but we chose the car on the information we had available. At least we will be in a position to help the (New Zealand) people going this year.

The whole thing was pretty professional from the M Sport side, but I’d say about 80 per cent of the people had done the event before.’’


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