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Campbell extends lead in North Island Rally Series

Phil Campbell (Ford Fiesta AP4) has extended his lead in the 2024 Generator Rental Services North Island Rally Series (NIRS) after the second round was held on Sunday in and around the township of Stratford. Campbell beat home fellow NIRS competitor Quentin Palmer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5) who moves into second overall, 19 points behind.

“That was a lot of fun,” commented Campbell. “We don’t do a lot of tarmac events so didn’t know what to expect or how we would go against our unrestricted rivals. They were fast and it took a bit to gain our confidence. The aim was to extend out NIRS lead which we did.”

The 2024 SBT Group Taranaki Tarmac Rally incorporated both Targa (unrestricted) and Regional (NIRS) competitors competing on Stage Notes as well as the Clubmans category competing blind (no notes) over the final four stages only.

Cameron Ross/Matthew Buer (Subaru Impreza – Unrestricted category) won the event outright, 34.9 seconds ahead of Campbell/Brianna Little with Jason Gill/Katrina Renshaw (VW Polo – Unrestricted category) third and Quentin Palmer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 5 – NIRS) fourth.

Hosted by the Taranaki and South Taranaki Car Clubs, and based at the War Memorial Hall in the centre of Stratford, the one-day event was run over seven tarmac stages in superb conditions.

Seasoned Targa campaigner David Rogers (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10) was second quickest in the opening stage before crashing out of contention during Special Stage 2.

Quickest 2WD was Charlie Evans/Dayna Kiekebosch (Honda Civic) who now moves into third overall on the NIRS leader board.

Ross won four of the seven Special Stages and finished second in the other three. Campbell took two stage victories with Gill winning one.

“Our car was essentially in gravel spec,” said Campbell. “All we did was lower it by 20mm and fit tarmac tyres. Ideally, we would have put bigger brakes on it but we don’t have any. They did get hot several times so in the end we just had to manage this by using them less and our times were still quite quick.”

Teams and competitors must now get prepared for the third round, Ventia Rally of Dargaville Tunatahi which takes place 27 July 2024.

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