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Mainland Rally Championship heats up with second round at Rally Otago

The seven-round 2022 Mainland Rally Championship is back in action next weekend at Rally Otago. It’s the second of seven rounds with Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) leading from Michael Tall (Mitsubishi Mirage) and Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza).

The first round took place in March with the Diggalink Westland Rally Sprint, a one-day sprint instead of the annual Westland Rally which unfortunately had to be cancelled. The rally sprint used 9.9km of Ahaura-Kopara Road, which has been used as a rally stage in the past, with competitors having three runs in each direction giving nearly 60km of action.

Now all eyes are on the first day of Rally Otago for the second round of the championship with a familiar route to what was used in 2018, taking in the area north of Dunedin to Middlemarch.

Eight Special Stages will see competitors facing some fast roads and rugged landscapes, highlighted by the incredible Shag Valley stage with its barren hills and the iconic jump near the stage end. The final stage of the day will provide the biggest test, the 37km Nenthorn stage, which may prove to be a real test of endurance, rather than raw car speed.

The traditional Saturday tarmac Super Stage around the streets of Dunedin had earlier been cancelled by organisers due to Covid restrictions. However, the annual ceremonial start in Dunedin’s Octagon on Friday evening will now go ahead. Live timing for Rally Otago can be found at www.chrissport.co.nz.

Autotech Services, RDL Performance and Brita Safety have put up cash prizes for each Class winner at the end of the Mainland Rally Championship season. $500, $250 and $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively for each class as well as trophies for all classes and overall for both driver and co-driver. Vehicles are divided up into six different classes according to engine size, year of manufacturer and two or four-wheel drive.

Leading Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) is the Toyota Vitz of Marty Roestenburg. Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc) is led by Carl Celeste (Toyota Corolla). Marcus van Klink (Mazda RX8) leads Class C (2WD 1601cc and over) from Deane Buist (Toyota Trueno) while Josh Marston leads Class D (4WD 1601cc and over) from Tall and Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza). Shane McKenzie (Mitsi Galant) leads Class E (Pre-1996 4WD) from Mike Baltrop (Subaru Impreza). The rivalry in the Classic Class F is expected to be intense with Jeff Judd (Ford Escort) leading Tim McIver (Ford Escort). Nick Marston (Subaru H6) leads Class H6.

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