Driver Dean Bond and co-driver Craig Barclay, of Balclutha,
in their Mitsubishi Evo 6.5 during the 2009 Catlins Rally.
Photo by Gregor Richardson.
The Eastern Southland Car Club has combined with Auckland
rally enthusiasts, the Grey Roots Group, to draw some big names
for the 2013 Catlins Coast Rally.
The Grey Roots Group was formed in 2006, with the aim of
maintaining the profile of motor rallying over the summer
period when motorsport fans are more inclined to focus on
At the completion of each rally season, the group members
release lists ranking the fastest New Zealand rally drivers
for the year.
Group spokesman Dylan Turner said they believed the rankings
had gained some ''real credibility''.
''By factoring out punctures and mechanical problems, we've
established a true measure of each driver's outright pace.''
He said an unexpected bonus of the lists' publication is that
many drivers use them in the difficult search for
''Recognition by your peers does not just provide bragging
rights. The ability to go to a prospective backer, and show
you are one of the fastest drivers in the country is a
The Eastern Southland Car Club has also offered the number
one ranked gravel driver free entry to the 2013 Catlins Coast
Mr Turner said the Catlins region was a special part of New
Zealand and the roads were legendary throughout the local
The man judged the fastest outright New Zealand rally driver
for 2012 is Geraldine's Hayden Paddon, who already has a free
entry to the 2013 event.
Eastern Southland Car Club president Craig Jessop said Paddon
had always been a strong supporter of the club and in 2011
offered him a free entry to their annual dinner.
''Unfortunately, an additional unplanned event in Europe
clashed with the 2012 rally, so he was hoping to use it in
The free start has been offered to another exciting young
driver, Nelson's Ben Hunt, Mr Jessop said.
''Ben was ranked as the number one two-wheel-drive gravel
driver in the country, after storming runs at Gisborne and
the World Rally Championship round. We'd love to see him down
here enjoying our fabulous flowing roads, particularly if
Hayden brings his protege David Holder - who is the
second-ranked two-wheel-drive gravel driver - with him.''
The 2013 Catlins Coast Rally will be held on July 27 instead
of August, in the hope that it will allow 2011 production
world rally champion Paddon to contest the 2013 event, before
departing for Rally Finland.
The club believed the July date should make it an attractive
run-in for national championship contenders contesting the
Canterbury rally in August.