Graves favourite to win Rankleburn Rally

Cromwell driver Simon Taylor with sister and co-driver Terri in their Subaru Impreza WRX. PHOTO:...
Cromwell driver Simon Taylor with sister and co-driver Terri in their Subaru Impreza WRX. PHOTO: RON VEINT
Gore driver Andrew Graves, fresh from a win in the recent Lawrence Rally, is the top seed for the Rankleburn Rally tomorrow.

Graves will be at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Evo 3 for the Eastern Southland Car Club event in the Rankleburn Forest in West Otago.

Other top runners include David Clearwater (Christchurch, Evo 4), a top-10 finisher at Lawrence, and James Worker, in the Evo 6 driven to victory at Rankleburn for the past two years by Carter Strang.

It will be Worker’s third event in the car.

Others to watch are Paul Cross (Gore, Subaru Impreza H6) and Cromwell driver Simon Taylor, at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza.

Mosgiel driver Steve Thompson (Ford Escort MKII), Winton driver Brendon Mitchell (Datsun 1600) and Temuka driver Brett Waddren (Toyota Starlet) will be class C front-runners.

Class B should feature a battle between Craig Cormack (Gore, Toyota Levin), Thomas Paul (Cromwell, Honda Civic), Grant Molloy (Invercargill, Corolla) and Queenstown drivers Adrian Jones (Corolla) and Mauro Balzarini (Toyota Sprinter).

Class A is the domain of Chris Herdman, of Temuka, in his Toyota Starlet.

The rally is part of the club’s rally championship and will comprise four special stages totalling about 80km.

Servicing takes place at Telford Tops Rd with prizegiving at the Croydon Hotel after the event.

Special stage 1, over a distance of 20km, was introduced last year, while stage 2 is a new stage of 19.97km.

Stage 3 (19.83km) is also new, while stage 4 (19.34km) was new to the event in 2019 and had records set in every class last year.

The best viewing for stages 1 and 2 is at the intersections of Chapman-Middle, Chapman-Manuka and Manuka-Land’s End Rds, which will be closed from 10.30am. The first car is due to start the first stage at 11am and the second stage about noon.

The best viewing in stage 3 is from the intersection of Land’s End Rd-Telford Tops Corner, both forestry roads just off Manuka Rd. The first car will enter the stage at 1.15pm.

The winning crew will earn the Darryl Robinson Memorial Trophy, and the first Otago Sports Car Club driver will be awarded the Glen Shirlaw Memorial Trophy.

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