Datsun duo like the Sunnyside up in race return

DriveSouth Rally of Otago competitors (from left) Jake Thomas, Steven Thompson and Brayden Palmer, of Mosgiel, with a rebuilt 1980 Datsun Sunny. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
DriveSouth Rally of Otago competitors (from left) Jake Thomas, Steven Thompson and Brayden Palmer, of Mosgiel, with a rebuilt 1980 Datsun Sunny. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
A Mosgiel mechanic injured in a ''colossal'' crash during the Rally of Otago last year is set to return to the event in his rebuilt car tomorrow.

Steven Thompson (22) said it would be the first time he had raced the 1980 Datsun Sunny since it was rebuilt.

He and his co-driver, Jack Brownlie (22), of Outram, had a ''colossal'' crash in stage two of the Rally of Otago last year when the front suspension failed and the car rolled four times at about 140kmh.

''It left us both unconscious and the car absolutely destroyed.''

Thompson continued getting migraines for six months after the crash. But that did not put him off and he sourced car parts from around New Zealand to rebuild the car so he and Brownlie could return to the rally.

''It's effectively a new car; it's been rethought and better.''

He admitted having pre-rally nerves but had complete confidence in his car.

Friends also racing in the classic class tomorrow include Jake Thomas (21) in a 1982 Toyota Corolla, and Brayden Palmer (21) in a 1980 Toyota Starlet.

They agreed to grow moustaches, similar to that sported by rally driver the late Peter ''Possum'' Bourne, to match their 1980s cars. Palmer's co-driver is

Thompson's girlfriend, Cassidy Solomon (19), of Mosgiel. She had failed to warm to her boyfriend's moustache, Thomas said.

''There's not much kissing going on.''

The DriveSouth Rally of Otago is the second round of the 2014 New Zealand Rally Championship The two-day event starts tomorrow.

There are 15 special stages over 280km of mostly gravel public and forestry roads to the south and southwest of Dunedin. There is one tarmac stage in Anzac Ave tomorrow.

A ceremonial start will take place in the Octagon from 4pm today.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz