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Masons focus on hometown victory


Richard and Sara Mason say they are focusing on their performance rather than the statistics in the Rally of Wairarapa this weekend

Richard Mason is planning to concentrate on his own performance and forget all the mathematical permutations possible in the national championship when the Rally of Wairarapa is held this weekend.

Mason and codriver wife Sara in their Subaru Impreza WRX STI trail defending champion Haydon Paddon by 27 points.

If the Masons were to win all four remaining heats in the series – two at the Masterton based event – and two at the season finale at Nelson in September, they could still finish runner-up in the championship, provided Paddon finishes second in all four heats.

A regular winner of his home event in recent years, Mason is philosophical about the situation.

“We can only concentrate on what we can do and then just wait and see what happens to everybody else.”

“We really need somebody else to finish between us and Haydon to help us out,” said Mason.

This weekend’s Rally of Wairarapa has exactly the same route as last year, but it is the first time the event has been held in mid-winter.

“The conditions are going to be different,” said Mason. “The roads are going to be softer and more slippery. It doesn’t worry me, but certainly people are going to have to adapt.”

Meanwhile, two drivers have pulled out of the Rally. Adam Bligh broke his ankle last weekend, and Brent Taylor broke his collarbone.

The organisers say there are a number of late entries however, and there will be 57 drivers starting the two-day event.

The action starts from 5:45pm on Friday 17 July with a display of the competing rally cars outside the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Solway Park. From 6pm the drivers and their co-drivers will take their cars over the ceremonial start ramp, then head inside the Solway for an autograph signing session, finishing at 7pm.

With the first cars starting from Pongaroa at 8:40am on Saturday 18th, it will be straight into competition on the surrounding roads. Pongaroa will remain the centre of attention as the competitors return twice during the day to service and refuel their cars. At 10:30am and then again at 1:20pm the first cars will clock in for 30 minute service parks.

The final servicing stop for the day will be from 4:30pm in the carpark outside the Horseshoe Café, Restaurant and Bar in Masterton. Here the crews will have an hour to get their cars ready for the next days competition.

Then on Sunday 19th it happens all over again, only this time Eketahuna is the centre of attention. The first cars will head into service at 10:45am and then again at 1:15pm.

The final act of the rally will be the Finish Ramp and podium. Starting at 3:30pm outside the Solway Park, each of the survivors will roll over the ramp to celebrate finishing.

A formal prizgiving for the rally, with the rally trophies and prizes presented will be from 7pm at the Solway Park.

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