Last year’s 2WD classic champions Tony Gosling and Blair Read will debut their Subaru Legacy RS in the season-opening Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship at the Otago Rally this weekend.
The Stadium Finance-backed car will battle the Mitsubishi VR4s of Matt Adams and Gareth McLachlan as well as three other entries in the Stadium Finance Group A Rally Challenge.
“We did four years in the Classic Championship and we finally managed to win it last year,” Gosling says.
“We had a bit of a chat around what we thought we should do and we decided an early 1990s car would be cool. Everybody loves the Legacy especially with Possum [Bourne] etc.”
Gosling is expecting a number of drivers pushing him hard but nominates the reigning champion as the car to beat.
“You’d probably have to say the Mo-Bros – Matt Adams and David McFarlane,” Gosling said. “I think this is their third year in Group A and they won it the first year and again last year and they are quite fast. They have a good car but we don’t really know where we are going to be.”
Marcus van Klink (Mazda), Deane Buist (Volkswagen) and Anthony Jones (Ford) loom as the likely protagonists in the Gull Rally Challenge 2WD, which is competed over just the Saturday stages.
Mike Tall, New Caledonia’s Eugene Creugnet, Richard Bateman and Grant Blackberry are all driving Mitsubishis and will battle each other in the fight for the Gull Rally Challenge 4WD trophy.
Wayne Pittams is contesting the open 2WD class at this event in his immaculate Ford Escort and will be a strong contender for overall 2WD honours.
In the 2WD category defending champion Dylan Thompson (Ford Fiesta) will battle fellow youngsters Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta) and Amy Keighley (Suzuki Swift) as well as seasoned veteran David Taylor in the Honda Civic.
Regan Ross, Andy Martin and John Silcock will fight out the Historic 2WD title while all of them will be paying close attention to WRC star Mads Ostberg, who is contesting the one-off Otago Rally in a Ford Escort.
A total of 17 special stages await drivers over the two-day Otago Rally where WRC star Hayden Paddon is the favourite to take overall honours.
The 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship is proudly supported by Brian Green Property Group, Gull New Zealand, Dunlop New Zealand, Hella New Zealand and Stadium Finance.