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West dominates Leg 1 of Whangarei rally


Former champion wins Leg 1 of Whangarei Rally, taking outright honours and victory in the NZ Championship section of the event. Australian Cody Crocker, hampered by running first on the road and sweeping the tracks of gravel, won the Asia-Pacific segment and was third overall.

Christchurch-based Chris West has won Leg 1 of the NAC Insurance Hella rally of Whangarei with a dominant display in his ANDREW Simms Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

West has won both the Leg outright and the Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship section, and has scored Mitsubishi’s second leg win in the 2008 Series.

The first was Stewart Taylor’s win on Leg 1 of the season-opening Wairarapa rally.

Australian Cody Crocker (Subaru Impreza WRX STi), the defending Asia-Pacific champion, won the Asia-Pacific section of the event. He was third overall today, behind West and Geraldine driver Hayden Paddon (Evo 9).

Kats Taguchi was second Asia-Pacific driver home, ahead of Australia’s Scott Pedder. Both drive Evo 9 Lancers.

West, who grabbed the event lead on Special Stage 1 this morning, led Paddon home by 20.2 seconds.

Masterton-based Brett Martin finished third in his Evo 9, giving the triple-diamond brand a clean sweep of the podium placings in the NZ Championship section.

Dean Sumner (Evo 9) was fourth, ahead of the first NZ Subaru driver Callum McInnes.

Emma Gilmour (WRX), Sloan Cox (Evo 8), Stewart Taylor (Evo 9) and Andre Meier (WRX), completed the top nine.

Australian Brendan Reeves finished 10th in a Kayne Barrie-prepared and run Ford Fiesta, winning the Fiesta Challenge section of the event. He was first two-wheel drive competitor to finish.

Ben Jagger and Patrick Malley completed the Fiesta finishing order.

Aaron Cook (Honda Jazz Type-R) came home 12th, between Jagger and Malley, to win Kiwi 2. Seam Gray (Mitsubishi Mirage) was second.

Leading Kiwi 2 contender Dave Strong (Honda Civic Type-R) retired.

The big news, though, was the withdrawal of overall ZN series leader Richard Mason after rolling his BNT Subaru in SS2.

It’s the second year running that Mason has failed to finish Leg 1 in Whangarei, and his first DNF of the current season. 

Leg 2  of the rally runs tomorrow (Sunday, June 8). Log in during the day for regular updates.

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