TOP DRIVER FOR RANKLEBURN RALLY
One of New Zealand’s top rally aces, Josh Marston of Christchurch, has entered the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Rankleburn Rally in West Otago on Saturday 6 October.
Marston, currently third in the NZ Rally Championship driver standings with one round remaining, will bring his Holden Barina AP4 to the event which is supported by MLT / Heartland Hotels /Ernslaw One Limited.
The new generation AP4 cars, 4-wheel-drive cars for the Asia Pacific region, were created by Motorsport NZ in collaboration with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport in Australia, to give drivers in the Asia Pacific region a ‘National Rally Car’ specification that addresses the current problem of homologation and cost. The brief was to provide a competition car that could be purchased, maintained and campaigned affordably with specifications that would emulate that of the current FIA R5 specification, with comparable performance, while ensuring it can be constructed from locally sourced components at an affordable price. The result is some very quick, affordable rally cars.
Marston is part of the RDL Rally Team and the reason for his appearance at Rankleburn is to go testing prior to the final round of the NZ Rally Championship, the Raglan Rally Of The Coast, a week later.
“It’s a wee bit close to Raglan but we continually develop the car and we have more things to try. I don’t know much about Rankleburn but Dougie (his NZRC co-driver Andrew Graves of Gore) and Roger (Roger Laird of the organising committee) have told me the roads are good and the layout is good.”
In an ironic twist Marston will be competing against his usual co-driver, Graves at the event. “He’s a bloody good driver, he knows the roads and he will be the odds on favourite,” says Marston. “Look what he did at Catlins,” he says of the event in August where Graves took his fourth win in his aging Mitsubishi EVO 3.
Marston hopes the development work at Rankleburn will assist him with his NZ Rally Championship hopes in the final round at Raglan. “It is really all on, there are 2 points between third and fifth says the man who is currently third.
It has been a great season for Marston and he says he is “stoked.” He took both his and Holden’s first NZ Rally Championship win in Rally Canterbury in June, 19 years after his father Leigh won the same event. ”Winning Canterbury was a real highlight,” he says. More success came in September when he won the Royce Watson Memorial Hanmer Rally. Other highlights include topping the Motorsport NZ Elite Motorsport Academy in 2009, pipping the likes of Simon and Mitch Evans, and winning the NZRC 2-wheel-drive class in 2013. Another is co-driving with his father in the Silver Fern Rally and winning their class on two occasions – a different class each time.
Marston says he loves the hospitality around Eastern Southland Car Club events and the organisers do a great job. “I’m looking forward to the roads.”
He also credits his RDL Performance team and says the Barina is “like a jet at the moment.” “It’s an interesting beast, it’s very fast. It takes a while to get your head around and there is a lot in the set up.”
Another talented young Canterbury rally driver, Ari Pettigrew, will co-drive for Marston at Rankleburn.
The event, organised by the Eastern Southland Car Club, always attracts a good entry and is part of the club’s rally championship. The rally takes place from 10.00am on Saturday 6 October and support once again comes from MLT / Heartland Hotels /Ernslaw One Limited.
The event will be based at Telford Tops Road in the Rankleburn Forest, West Otago, and is approximately one hour from Gore and 35 minutes from Balclutha and will be signposted from State Highway 1.
The rally will consist of five high speed Special Stages comprising 80 kilometres of competitive mileage with four classes for competitors – Class D for 4-wheel-drive cars, plus three classes for 2-wheel-drive cars, Class A (0-1300cc), Class B (1301- 1600cc) Class C (1601cc & over).
on behalf of the Eastern Southland Car Club
021 351 499
For further comment: Roger Laird 0274 368 876
PHOTOGRAPHS: Josh & Olivia Marston in action at the Royce Watson Memorial Hanmer Rally recently – please credit Euan Cameron.