Motorsport: Top Seed Taylor tastes hometown victory
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Greg Murphy contests home rally in classic Ford Escort
Mitsubishi Lancer driver Stewart Taylor (Havelock North) extended his streak of home rally success by clinching his fourth consecutive Rally of Hawke’s Bay victory on Saturday.
Taylor was the top seed for the eight-stage event in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10. But the early stages produced a battle between Hawke’s Bay driver Grant Blackberry and Te Aroha’s Graham Featherstone in earlier model Mitsubishi Lancers.
Featherstone (Lancer Evo7) was fastest through the opening Cricklewood Rd stage south of Wairoa while Blackberry (Lancer Evo6) was the pace-setter on stages two and three before Featherstone secured another stage win through the repeat running of the Cricklewood Rd.
With four stages completed Blackberry led by 17.9s from Featherstone with Taylor 4.1secs further back and about to mount an attack on the rally leaders.
As the rally moved south towards Napier, Taylor won stage five at Mohaka Coach Rd where Featherstone’s rally ended with a diff failure and Taylor’s stage-winning pace edged him into a lead of 0.3secs over Blackberry.
Fastest times on the tarmac Matahuroa and Glengarry stages extended Taylor’s lead while Te Aroha’s Lance Williams (Subaru Impreza R4) moved up the second place in the afternoon with quicker tarmac pace than Blackberry.
The rally winning margin for Taylor was 21.7secs from Williams, who clinched the Central Region Rally Series with his runner-up finish.
Blackberry was just 1.8secs behind in third place while Aucklander Dylan Turner (Lancer Evo8) and Feilding’s Geof Argyle (Lancer Evo8) completed the top-five.
Former V8 Supercar star Greg Murphy contested his home rally in a classic category Mk 1 Ford Escort and moved up from 25th seeding to hold 15th place after four stages but then almost 10 minutes in the Mohaka Coach Rd stage and finished 25th.