Change of format but still plenty of action on offer

Invercargill drivers Mark McMillan and Murray Wright compete in their Subaru Legacy RS in last...
Invercargill drivers Mark McMillan and Murray Wright compete in their Subaru Legacy RS in last year’s Catlins Coast Rally. PHOTO: BEN WILSON
A competitive field will line up for the Eastern Southland Car Club’s Catlins Rallysprint tomorrow.

The event is being held in place of the Catlins Coast Rally, which is taking a break this year after a successful 20th edition last year.

Two cars that are being shared by two different drivers head the running order.

Open 2WD class national champion Ari Pettigrew, of Rangiora, will be first away in David Kirk’s Ford Fiesta Pronto 4WD, which Kirk (Gore) will also drive.

The second car will be Invercargill driver Raimon Wilkinson’s Toyota Trueno, which will also be driven by his son, Ryan.

Next up is four-time Catlins Coast Rally winner Andrew Graves, of Gore, in his Mitsubishi EVO 3, followed by the EVO 6 of Balclutha driver Dean Bond, a three-time Catlins rally winner.

Dunedin-based Australian driver John Spencer is next in an EVO 7, followed by Mark McMillan (Invercargill) in the Subaru Legacy.

McMillan finished second in last year’s Rankleburn Rally after a lengthy absence from the sport.

Jeremy McIlwrick (Winton, EVO 4), Neville Krammer (Wallacetown, Subaru Legacy H6), Barry Mills (Balclutha, Hillman Avenger and Richie Chadwick (Dunedin, Corolla GT) follow.

Pettigrew, Graves, Bond, Spencer, McMillan, McIlwrick and Krammer all contest class D for 4WD vehicles, while Mills, Brendon Mitchell (Winton, Datsun 1600) and Craig Barclay (Balclutha, Ford Escort MK2) are the major players in class C. Mitchell was the class C winner at the club’s recent Mt Misery Hillclimb.

Class B honours will be hard fought with the Wilkinsons, Chadwick, Jake Thomas (Mosgiel, Toyota Levin), Craig Cormack (Gore, Toyota Corolla), Sean Sands (Springston, Ford Escort MK2) and Ian Warren (Dunedin, Nissan Pulsar VZR) among the potential frontrunners.

Hamish Roche, of Dunedin, has class A all to himself at present in his Suzuki Swift GTi.

The youngest competitor in the event will be 15-year-old Isabella Magee, of Dunedin, in her Honda CRX. Isabella does not yet have a driver’s licence but has been doing sprints while her father, Gary, sits alongside her, and is getting faster with every event.

The rallysprint will utilise some of the roads previously used for the Catlins Coast Rally, forming a loop of about 8.5km.

Competitors will fight it out over three runs in each direction with the fastest time in each direction added together to determine the result.

The action starts at 11am, and the best spectator viewing is off Waitepeka School Road and adjacent to the Green Park Camp.

The South Otago Car Club will run its Catlins Inn Rallysprint on Sunday to give the rally community a weekend of entertainment.

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