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Monday, Oct 21 11:15am
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Raana Horan makes NZRC history with Rally Waitomo win

For the first time in the history of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC), Škoda has finished one and two on the podium.

Off-road racer Raana Horan claimed a breakthrough win at the season-ending Rally Waitomo in his Škoda Fabia R5, finishing 18 seconds clear of Kingsley Jones. It marks the first time an R5 car has claimed a win in the NZRC.

Matthew Jensen completed the podium in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 in what proved to be a gruelling six-stage rally.

The final event of the six-round championship was a dramatic affair. Champion elect Ben Hunt sought to sweep the season. Hunt looked odds on to take a sixth win after he established a sizeable lead early on. It wasn’t to be, however. His Subaru WRX STi suffered a turbo issue just one stage short of the finish while holding a 1minute48second lead.

Phil Campbell duly inherited the lead in his Ford Fiesta AP4. His hopes were dashed just two kilometres into the final stage of the rally though, suspension damage putting paid to what would’ve been a sweet finish to the season.

Having been in podium contention all day, Raana Horan surged into the lead. A safe run to the checkered flag cemented his first NZRC win in just his second full season.

There were some surprises up and down the order. Matt Adams finished just off the podium in fourth with his Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 9 while off-road racer Ben Thomasen claimed a top-five finish in his Subaru WRX STI.

With Hunt already crowned champion, there was plenty of attention paid to the other classes. With sixth overall in the rally, Marcus van Klink claimed a hard-fought 2WD and Open 2WD win in his Mazda RX-8 over Ford Escort pilot Anthony Jones.

Mike Sheehan claimed the FIA Group N 2WD title just by making it to the start line. He duly won the class as well in his Ford Fiesta.

Wayne Rowberry powered to a rally win in his Toyota Starlet in the Gull Rally Challenge 2WD class but he couldn’t prevent Daniel Alexander from winning the title. Alexander struggled at Waitomo with water getting into his engine of his Toyota Starlet but he managed to do enough to nurse the car home and claim enough points to protect his championship lead.

Wayne Muckle crashed his Mitsubishi on stage two which saw Phil Collins ease to victory in the Stadium Finance Group A Challenge championship. Collins completed the final stage but was forced to retire from the event on the touring stage back to the finish but had done enough to secure the title. Tony Gosling won the class comfortably however and finished a brilliant 10th overall in his Subaru Legacy.



Rally Waitomo Results

Overall
1. Raana Horan/Michael Connor (Skoda)
2. Kingsley Jones/Waverley Jones (Skoda)
3. Matt Jensen/Kieran Anstis (Mitsubishi)

Overall 2WD
1. Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill (Mazda)
2. Bruce Herbert/Bevan Parker (Mitsubishi)
3. Brent Taylor/Chris Ramsay (Toyota)

Gull Rally Challenge
1. Matt Jensen/Kieran Anstis (Mitsubishi)
2. Matt Adams/Lisa Hudson (Mitsubishi)
3. Ben Thomasen/Gavin Haycock (Subaru)

2019 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship Final Standings

Overall/Open 4WD
1. Ben Hunt/Tony Rawstorn (Subaru)
2. Josh Marston/Andrew Graves (Holden)
3. Dylan Thomson (Subaru)/ Malcolm Read (Audi/Toyota)

Overall 2WD
1. Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill (Mazda)
2. Anthony Jones/Tanya Gwynne (Ford)
3. Wayne Pittams/Chris Davison (Ford)

Gull Rally Challenge
1. Matt Adams/Lisa Hudson (Mitsubishi)
2. Ben Thomasen/Gavin Haycock (Subaru)
3. Brynley Smith/Andrew Beck (Mitsubishi)

FIA Group N 2WD
1. Mike Sheehan/Glenn Goldring (Ford Fiesta)
2. Robbie Stokes/Amy Stokes (Ford Fiesta)
3. Haowen Chu/Caleb Ash (Ford Fiesta)

Open 2WD
1. Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill (Mazda)
2. Anthony Jones/Tanya Gwynne (Ford)
3. Wayne Pittams/Chris Davison (Ford)

Historic 2WD
1. Jeff Judd/Sarah Brennan (Ford)
2. Regan Ross/Samantha Grey (Ford)
3. Steve Cox/Laurie Brenssell (Toyota)

Gull Rally Challenge 4WD
1. Matt Adams/Lisa Hudson (Mitsubishi)
2. Ben Thomasen/Gavin Haycock (Subaru)
3. Garret Thomas/Gemma Thomas (Subaru)

Gull Rally Challenge 2WD
1. Daniel Alexander/Katrina Renshaw (Toyota)
2. Daph O’Rourke/Brianna Little (Toyota)
3. Wayne Rowberry/Callum Smith (Toyota)

Stadium Finance Group A Challenge
1. Phil Collins/Tracy Spark (Audi)
2. Wayne Muckle/Tania Cresswell (Mitsubishi)
3. Matt Wright/Stephen Lloyd (Subaru)

 

Photo: Geoff Ridder

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