Richard and Sara Mason have won the opening round of the NZ Rally Championship in the Wairarapa with second placer in Leg 1 and an emphatic win in Leg 2.
Former champion Richard Mason has won the opening round of the 2008 Vantage Aluminium New Zealand Rally Championship on home turf in the Wairarapa.
Mason and co-driving wife Sara, won today’s second heat of the event by a solid 51.2 seconds from fellow Wairarapa-based driver Brett martin (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9).
In yesterday’s first heat – each heat is run as a self-co0ntined rally with the overall event decided by an aggregate of a driver’s times in each – Subaru Impreza WRX STi driver Mason finished a fast-closing second behind Hawke’s Bay driver Stewart Taylor (Evo 9)
The Leg 1 win gave Taylor the initial lead in the 2008 NZRC.
The Masons came up 0/9 of a second short of catching Taylor after fighting back from early problems which saw them fall as low as sixth overall.
But the second placing and the win have given Mason the round win and the series lead.
Taylor finished today’s heat seventh.
Wellington driver Nathan Thomas had been sensational early in Leg 1, taking the rally lead in his older model Evo 7 Lancer and holding it will after SS3.
His hopes faded when he dropped out with suspension damage.
Leg 1 roved costly for defending champion Sam Murray who rolled his Impreza on Special Stage 1, and for Evo 9 speedster Dean Sumner who rolled heavily, extensively damaging the car but escaping without major injury.
Manukau City driver, Andrew Hawkeswood, driving non-championship Evo 7, won the rally overall. He finished 1, 56s ahead of Mason on aggregate time.
Results of the Wairarapa Rally.
Leg 1, April 12.
1. Stewart Taylor-Warwick Seale, Lancer Evo 9. 2. Richard Mason-Sara mason, Impreza WRX STi, 0.9s behind. 3. Mark Tapper-Jeff Cress, Evo 9, 11.2s behind.
Leg 2, April 13.
1. Richard Mason-Sara Mason, Impreza WRX STi. 2. Brett Martin-Grant Marra, Lancer Evo 9, 51.2s behind. 3. Chris West-Garry Cowan, Lancer Evo 9, 1m 21.1s behind.