Former champ returns to NZ Rally Championship in Murphy's Holden
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New Zealand Rally Championship defending champion David Holder will get an opportunity to defend his crown in an AP4 car in the final two rounds of the season.
Holder will take over the reins of Greg Murphy's Holden Barina with the former Supercars star unavailable because of a schedule clash.
Holder started the season in the Hyundai New Zealand i20 AP4+ car in a shared drive with Job Quantock and WRC star Hayden Paddon. He missed Rally Canterbury after being unable to secure a car at all and competed in an old Subaru at Rally Coromandel last weekend.
"We are moving back into something a bit more modern with an AP4 car for Waitomo," a delighted Holder told The Herald.
"Greg Murphy has asked us to get in with the Holden team - unfortunately he can't drive the last two events so it is a big opportunity for us.
"I am pleased to be back in a modern car for a start."
While a great opportunity for Holder it will also be a challenge with the Barina still dealing with teething issues only a handful of rallies into its existence.
"I have looked at the car - I haven't driven it. I have driven it down the road but not in rally mode," Holder explained. "I am off to Europe and not back until two days before the rally so we will drive it the day before the rally and get familiar with it.
"I have been around Hyundai - they went through that year of development with those little things so I am sure I will cast my eye over the car and help out where I can.
"Tony and the team at RDL have done a pretty good job of building the cars it is just ironing out some of those teething issues so hopefully it goes well for the next two rallies."
Murphy meanwhile is disappointed with the schedule clash but is vowing to return in anger next season.
"I'm not happy that Mark Leonard [co-driver] and I won't be at the last two rounds, but it's just the way things played out," says Hawke's Bay-based Murphy.
"I'm rapt we can offer this chance for Dave and Jason to drive another AP4+ car. It's exciting to have the defending NZRC champion driving for the Penny Homes Holden Rally Team. We and our partners who have contributed significantly to the programme to build and develop these two AP4+ Barinas want to see the car in action, so this is great for Dave and for us."
While this move gives Holder a drive for the rest of 2017 he is yet to secure plans for next year.
"We have definitely got stuff in mind. At this stage we don't have anything confirmed but obviously we would like to compete in the whole championship in one car and for that be an AP4 car.
"Ideally I would love to represent Hyundai again but it just depends on what is available for them."
- NZ Herald