Friday, Jun 1 11:42pm
AUTHOR: Supplied/Speedsport

New look livery debuted for Matt Summerfield on home rally return

Ten years after entering his first Rally of Canterbury, local driver Matt Summerfield is chasing a third win at home.
With the past three winners also the top three seeded drivers, the battle for national championship honours will be fierce, particularly over this one-day contest.
"At the last two rallies [Otago and Whangarei] there's been a must finish two day approach, but this is a one day sprint. It's worth a reasonable points haul, so it'll be all on," says Summerfield, who won the event last year in an aging Subaru Impreza.
That win backed up his first Rally of Canterbury victory in  2012, also in a Subaru.
At this year's rally though, he gets to debut a new look to the current generation Mitsubishi Mirage, sporting local sponsor North Canterbury Energy Centre for his home event.
"I'm excited to be at home. It's all the little things that add up to the big one, like sleeping in your own bed. There's nothing like competing in your home event."
But looking back to competing in his first ever home rally in 2008, Summerfield says he was, "too sideways to be fast", and remembers the event finished with laps around Ruapuna Raceway at night.
"I think I spun out at Ruapuna, but we did finish third in Class A driving a Toyota Starlet."
The Rangiora local has come along way since then, now a top championship contender, having finished second and third respectively in the last two years of the New Zealand Rally Championship.
And how does he see this year's Lone Star Rally of Canterbury on Sunday?
"A big ol' ding dong battle!"
The battle ground will be entirely in the Ashely Forest, the only all forest event of the year, and will be fought out over 10 Special Stages. The first car starts at 8.35am on Sunday, with the last two stages to be held in darkness.
Ben Hunt (Subaru Impreza) will lead the 66 car field away, followed by Summerfield and Emma Gilmour (Suzuki Swift). Behind them will be current Australian champion Nathan Quinn in a Ford Fiesta Proto.