More new AP4 machines heading for NZ Rally Championship
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Two new Ford Fiesta AP4 cars are on the way with Brian Stokes and Phil Campbell currently building cars to rally next year if not sooner.
Rallying veteran Stokes first had the idea nearly a year ago and immediately spoke to fellow competitor Andrew Hawkeswood, whose company Force Automotive has helped build the majority of AP4 cars in New Zealand.
"I've had Fords all my life - right back to 1980 with the Mark 1 Escort," Stokes told herald.co.nz. "I've had virtually every model."
Force Automotive have finished constructing the chassis and shell of the car to the permitted specs.
Stokes will get the shell in the next few days and will then get to work on adding the rest of the things needed to compete in the New Zealand Rally Championship. Once that car is finished Force Automotive will get to work on Campbell's car, which is exactly the same.
Phil Campbell's older Group N Mitsubishi Evo IX, pictured at last year's International Rally of Whangarei. Photo / Matthew Hansen
"The engineering side really excited me that you could actually create something that looked like the current cars and you could fiddle around with them," Stokes said.
"We take it away and basically assemble it ourselves. I have a good friend Ian Mason in Nelson, who has built a lot of cars for us now, and he will do the rest of it - putting the engine in and gearbox, suspension and everything else you need in a rally car."
There was the option of buying a purpose-built fully finished R5 Fiesta from M-Sport in Europe but that option is a little more costly.
"It makes it that you can get a fantastic car for what I hope is an affordable price," Stokes said of the AP4 route. "That is one of my real motivations - to prove to myself that you don't have to spend megabucks to get yourself into the current generation."
Stokes is hoping his car is ready for Rally New Zealand in November while Campbell's will be ready for next year's championship.
- Dale Budge, NZ Herald