Ben Hunt tightens grip on NZ Rally Championship
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Subaru driver Ben Hunt (Auckland) has an ever tighter grip on the New Zealand Rally Championship after driving to his third consecutive win of the season on Sunday.
Hunt and co-driver Tony Rawstorn won the Lone Star Rally of Canterbury held in cold and showery conditions in the Ashley Forest and North Canterbury region on Sunday of the holiday weekend.
The rally was shortened by one stage to comprise seven special stages with Hunt setting the pace from the opening stage.
Skoda driver Job Quantock drove to a podium finish on his home event in Canterbury. Picture/GEOFF RIDDER
He posted six more stage wins for an unbeaten effort and claimed a full-points haul including the maximum five bonus points on the Power Stage.
The win has extended Hunt’s lead in the championship to a commanding 42 points with three rallies remaining.
Christchurch driver Josh Marston was Hunt’s closest rival on Sunday and finished 1m 08.3secs behind the rally winner after a string of second and third fastest stage times in his Holden Barina AP4. Marston has consolidated his second placing in the championship.
A further 1m 06.1secs further back in third place was the Skoda Fabia AP4 driven by Canterbury driver Job Quantock while
Phil Campbell (Tauranga) in his Ford Fiesta AP4 and Aucklander Jack Hawkeswood (Mazda2 AP4) competed the top five.
Young Christchurch driver Dylan Thomson (Subaru Impreza) achieved another consistent result in his first season driving a 4WD Turbo car to take sixth place.
Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield (Subaru Impreza) was an early podium contender but fell to 16th place following a stage three puncture. He climbed back up the order with three second fastest times to finish in seventh place.
Also finishing in the top-10 were Tauranga’s Ben Thomasen (Subaru Impreza) who won the Gull Rally Challenge category taking eighth place overall and Christchurch’s Marcus van Klink finished 10th and was the leading two-wheel-drive competitor in his Mazda RX-8.
Round four of the New Zealand Rally Championship sees he action remain in the South Island with the Stadium Finance Rally of South Canterbury on Saturday June 22.
The event starts and finishes in Timaru with the central service park at Fairlie. The almost 200km route features 11 gravel road special stages and a final tarmac stage at the Levels Raceway.
NZ Rally Championship (after round 3 of 6):
1 Ben Hunt (Auckland) Subaru WRX STI, 116pts
2 Josh Marston (Christchurch) Holden Barina AP4, 74pts
3 Phil Campbell (Tauranga) Ford Fiesta AP4, 48pts
4 Dylan Thomson (Christchurch) Subaru Impreza STI, 47pts
5= Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) Mazda2 AP4, 46pts
5= Marcus van Klink (Christchurch) Mazda RX-8, 46pts