Champ aiming to get back in Hunt by going back to basics
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Surprisingly off the pace at the opening two rounds of the New Zealand Rally Championship, Subaru driver Ben Hunt is hoping for an improved showing at this weekend's Rally Canterbury.
Hunt, the 2015 NZRC champion, has been plagued by mechanical issues since getting a new Subaru after his championship-winning season.
"My old 2008 Group N Subaru was a fantastic car and if I was in it today it would still be at the front of the field," Hunt said.
"This car, I have no doubt in my mind that it can be there too, it is just a case of sorting out these issues we've been having for the past year and a half.
"I am hopeful we might be on top of that now so we will see what happens in Canterbury."
Hunt admits the engine they've run in his new car just hasn't worked and so for this event they have decided to go back to a more basic package.
"For Canterbury Rally this weekend we have gone back to more of a Group N style engine that we knew worked. It did the job in the '08 car," he said.
"We have got rid of the more monster engine that we have had in the car that hasn't really worked to try and go back to the basics, I guess."
Despite the disappointing results by his standards so far, no one has a big jump on the field and Hunt feels he is still in with a chance of fighting for the championship with an extra event on the calendar this year.
"It is pretty close this year. Normally after the first couple of rounds there is quite a gap but this year it is pretty close between the top 10 cars."
Rally Canterbury will prove a different challenge to what drivers and teams found at the first two events of the year in Otago and Whangarei.
"We get back to more of the South Island way of rallying - probably more of a club rally," Hunt said. "Forestry-based - so coming from Nelson and growing up fixing forestry machinery, I have got a bit of a passion for forestry with the way the roads are built. There are a lot of things that can catch you out in the forest.
"But Nelson and Canterbury have some of the coolest and most challenging [forests] because they are not the typical public roads like in Otago and Whangarei and Wairarapa and places like that."