The 2016 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) season continues to be about development and character-building for Ben Hunt.
The Subaru of New Zealand Brand Ambassador was unable to finish the Rally of Gisborne yesterday (Saturday 2nd July) after he had a off-road excursion in his Subaru WRX STi on the fourth stage of the six-stage event.
It was not the way the Auckland-based driver and his co-driver Tony Rawstorn wanted to end the penultimate round of the NZRC, after they crashed out of the Whangarei round and damaged the radiator irreparably at the previous Canterbury rally.
“This has been a tough year for us but our goal from the start was to develop our brand-new Subaru WRX and over the season we have been able to get more speed and performance out of it,” Hunt says.
The STi was running strongly in the first two stages, finishing them in fifth and sixth position. Then the fuel pump failed in stage three, leaving Hunt no option but to temporarily withdraw and re-join for stage four.
Hunt set the record for the 38.85km Wharekopae stage last year, which is still unbeaten and had high hopes of a strong run through his favourite East Coast roads. Unfortunately, a repeat performance was thwarted when Hunt ran wide on a corner when he encountered some sun-strike.
“The new Subaru felt like it was performing better than the last year’s championship-winning car. Then about 7km into the stage, the back left wheel clipped the bank, spun us around on the road and tipped us on our side. The way that it was sitting we couldn’t push it back onto its wheels because we would have done too much damage to the car, so we had to withdraw,” Hunt says.
With this season’s championship already decided yesterday, Hunt extended his congratulations to David Holder and his co-driver Jason Farmer on their maiden title, and he looks ahead to the final NZRC round in the Coromandel.
“It would be great to be able to demonstrate what a fantastic rally car the Subaru WRX STi is and bring home a top result next month for all my sponsors and supporters,” Hunt says
Photo: Lady luck eluded Ben Hunt and Tony Rawstorn at the Rally of Gisborne yesterday after they had an off-road excurision in their Subaru WRX STi that ended their event.
PHOTO CREDIT: GEOFF RIDDER
Ben Hunt Motorsport is grateful for support in the 2016 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship from: Subaru of New Zealand, Hydraulink, Motul Oil, Gull NZ Fuel, Dunlop, CL Brakes, Reiger suspension, Bluebridge, MTF Finance, Vantage Windows and Doors, The Body Shop, Wurth, Possum Bourne Motorsport, Winger Subaru, E & H Motors, Entech, Neil Allport Motorsport, Prodiesel Engineering Ltd, Vernon Developments., TCC Solutions and Kennelly Cams.
2016 BRIAN GREEN PROPERY GROUP NZ RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR
Round 1 – Rally of Otago April 8 - 10
Round 2 – International Rally of Whangarei April 30 – May 1
Round 3 – Rally of Canterbury - June 5
Round 4 – Rally Gisborne - July 2
Round 5 – Rally Coromandel - August 20