Driveway practice prep for event

Aaron Slight
Aaron Slight
Aaron Slight was tearing up and down a friend’s driveway just out of Christchurch yesterday.

It is an interesting way to prepare for his first rally.

The former World Superbike Championship and British Touring Car Championship competitor is used to a smoother surface — much smoother.

But later this month he will be a guest driver at the Otago Rally.

It is set to be raced from April 16 to 18.

‘‘We just got a driveway which is about a K [kilometre] long with about five or six corners in it,’’ he said.

‘‘It is just enough straight to get into top gear and just feel what the brakes are like and get into some tight corners.

‘‘I’m just trying to get a feel for the gravel. And I’m really looking forward to getting down to Dunedin for the Wednesday when we have a bit of practice.

‘‘I’ve been told the roads are a lot wider and the bends more sweeping, so I’m looking forward to getting the feeling of that as well.’’

The 55-year-old will drive a Ford Escort RS1800 in the classic category of the rally.

He raced in the World Superbike Championship from 1988-2000 but that was nothing like it is to be behind the wheel of a rally car.

‘‘[In a rally car] you are dealing with problems all the time: too much oversteer, too much understeer and so you are processing a whole lot of information the whole time.’’

‘‘There’s lots of wheel spin, lots of sideways and it was just a challenge I couldn’t turn down really.’’

Slight will be joined by experienced Christchurch co-driver Ian McKee. He was invited to compete in the Otago Rally as a replacement for Finnish World Rally Championship star Mikko Hirvonen, who was ruled out from travelling to New Zealand because of Covid-19.

Slight’s main goal is to finish the rally and not end up in a paddock somewhere. But he is also highly competitive and keen to do as well as he can.

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