Top seed Strang repeats Rankleburn success

Carter Strang of Wallacetown, gained his second successive victory in the Rankleburn Rally in...
Carter Strang of Wallacetown, gained his second successive victory in the Rankleburn Rally in West Otago on Saturday. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
The only one not having a dust problem on Saturday at the Rankleburn Rally in West Otago on Saturday was winner Carter Strang, of Wallacetown.

It was Strang’s second successive victory in the Eastern Southland Car Club’s event which drew 33 entries.

By the end of the four special stages of the rally, Strang had built a comfortable 2min 42.8sec lead over Mark McMillan and Murray Wright of Invercargill in a Subaru Legacy RS, with another Wallacetown driver, Neville Krammer, third aboard another Subaru Legacy after a superb drive.

Strang, the top seed, along with co-driver Stewart Robbie, won all four special stages just as they had done last year in their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 6.

“It was a great day.

"Everything went to plan,” Strang said at the finish.

“I had intended to put my head down from the first stage and get a lead and we carried the momentum on for the rest of the day.”

Strang also paid tribute to the club.

“The event ran like clockwork, it was well organised and the roads were in good nick.”

His only issue was a clutch problem 5km from the finish.

McMillan, who has only recently returned to rallying after a lengthy break, took quite a cautious approach.

“The last few rallies we have done we had not finished so we were conservative ...

"We have got the car pretty right and I am more confident with it,” McMillan said.

He was in the top three in every stage apart from the final one in which he came fourth.

Krammer, with wife Hannah in the co-driver seat, worked his way up the order throughout the day in his Subaru, lying fifth after the opening stage and eventually finishing third ahead of Drury driver Mark Parsons in a Subaru Impreza H6.

Jeremy McIlwrick, of Winton (EVO 4), was just .5 of a second behind in fifth after a great battle.

Early casualties in the first stage included Regan Ross, of Kaikoura, who had an electrical problem and a puncture; Richie Chadwick, of Dunedin, who had a fuel pump problem; and Dean Johnston, of Christchurch, with a broken axle.

Other retirements included Australian John Spencer, who set the second-fastest time in the opening stage only to retire due to overheating in the next stage, Paul Cross of Gore, Paul Fraser of Auckland, Sean Sands of Christchurch, and Raimon Wilkinson of Invercargill.

All suffered from mechanical problems.

 — additional reporting Lindsay Beer


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