Subaru returns to this weekend's Leadfoot Festival
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The Leadfoot Festival this weekend features a new SUV track, where Subaru will demonstrate the all-wheel-drive capabilities of its XV, Forester and Outback models.
Visitors to Rod Millen's annual event in Hahei on the Coromandel Peninsula, will be able to book what the company says is a "truly unique off-road test drive experience."
Subaru New Zealand’s Marketing Manager Daile Stephens visitors to the SUV track would be able to watch the on-driveway action from a prime viewing spot.
Rally legend Alister McRae will be defending his Leadfoot title this weekend. Picture/Supplied
“The shared spirit of Subaru and New Zealanders is to get out and ‘do,’ so we wanted to create an outdoors environment which is quintessentially Kiwi and that also feels at home in the Coromandel," she said.
"We have created a space that is designed to be welcoming for people who want to come and relax. Please pull up a beanbag and enjoy the watching event unfold from the Subaru stand,” Mrs Stephens says.
Subaru has been involved with the Leadfoot celebration of inspirational drivers and their vehicles since its inception at the hands of Leadfoot Ranch owners Rod and Shelly Millen.
This is the brand’s sixth year supporting the Leadfoot Festival and as has been in the case in past years, Subaru will have its performance models doing duties on Rod’s driveway. The Subaru Levorg (which is essentially a WRX sports wagon)will be the safety car and the Subaru WRX will be the pace car.
Also returning to Leadfoot is the ‘King of Millen’s Mile’ Alister McRae, who has proved he is a hard man to beat up the 1.6km driveway with back-to-back wins in the Vantage-owned, ex-Possum Bourne 1998 Subaru WRX STI.
The defending champion will be aiming to make it a three-peat this weekend and helping him achieve this will be the extra hill climbing kilometres he has had in the black rocket ship Subaru this year. McRae became the first international driver to ever win the iconic Ashley Forest Rallysprint trophy in September.
Although it was only his first time competing at the Canterbury hill climb event, he beat some stiff competition in the form of top Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon and Leadfoot arch rival Sloan Cox, who is back this year and would dearly love to beat the huge-horsepower Subaru.
McRae scorched up the Leadfoot hill climb last year just 49.15secs in the Vantage Subaru and is keen to better that this year.
“The car is a monster and the venue is an amazing place to drive at - and having won the last two years, the pressure is going to be on. The boys at Speedhub are constantly refining the car so hopefully we can drop the time below the 49 seconds this year,” McRae says.
Subaru brand ambassador Ben Hunt is rebuilding the Subaru WRX STI he drove to runner-up position in the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship for the coming season, so has swapped it out for another Subaru this weekend.
He will be driving a 2004 Subaru WRX STI that he built with his dad to drive in club rallies.
“I’m really looking forward to driving at the Leadfoot Festival again. Rod and Shelly put on such a fantastic event and for us, it is a stress-free, relaxing, fun weekend. One of the reasons I love coming along is to see people from all different forms of motorsport competing.
Leadfoot Festival tickets can be purchased at www.leadfootfestival.com.