Crene Corolla creams com­pe­ti­tion

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

It’s not of­ten a Toy­ota Corolla has the edge over Porsches and BMWs.

But Greg Crene’s 1985 model was around two min­utes ahead of the more ex­pen­sive cars in the cat­e­gory three clas­sic sec­tion of the Targa Rally this month.

The var­i­ous stages be­tween Auck­land and Welling­ton took in the sights of Wait­omo, In­gle­wood and Mar­ton.

“We’re ab­so­lutely ec­static,” says Crene, whose winning time was 6h 54m 12s af­ter com­plet­ing all 34 stages over six days.

The One Tree Hill res­i­dent’s Corolla was up against many dif­fer­ent makes in the 1451km race be­cause the classes are de­ter­mined by age rather than model.

“We kept the car very stan­dard with stan­dard Corolla parts,” he says.

“We burned the mid­night oil to make sure the lit­tle things didn’t go wrong.”

Com­plet­ing stages without ac­ci­dents, while reach­ing speeds of up to 187kmh on some­times treach­er­ous roads, was an­other im­por­tant fac­tor in the win.

“There were some twisty and windy parts. A lot of peo- ple crash through try­ing too hard,” Crene says.

And at times the driv­ers were so fo­cused on com­plet­ing a stage, they weren’t sure where in the coun­try they were.

“Some­times you don’t know whether you’re closer to Hast­ings or Wan­ganui.”

Crene and co-driver Craig Con­nell en­joyed the com­mu­nity feel of the event as well as the de­mand­ing course.

“If some­one has a me­chan­i­cal is­sue they can usu­ally beg, steal or bor­row a part and get back out there,” Con­nell says.

“You go into places you’ve never heard of.”

The team es­ti­mate they spent sev­eral thou­sand dol­lars dur­ing the race on the likes of en­try fees and fuel.

But their car was so re­li­able they needed only one ser­vice car, driven by tech­ni­cal sup­port ex­pert Luke Wild, to look af­ter me­chan­i­cal prob­lems. Many teams used two.

“It was a very low bud­get com­pared to a lot of the field.”

And af­ter achiev­ing his best re­sult in four at­tempts at the rally, it’s not sur­pris­ing Crene and crew will be back next year.

“I think we can sneak a bit more per­for­mance out of it.”


Rally rac­ers: Targa Rally driver Greg Crene, left, tech­ni­cal sup­port ex­pert Luke Wild and co-driver Craig Con­nell took out cat­e­gory three in the clas­sic car divi­sion of the race last month with their 1985 Toy­ota Corolla.

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