The New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) is currently going from strength to strength, with no shortage of new cars entering the grid for the 2017 season. While Holden is not normally a brand associated with the sport, that’s set to change with a two-car AP4 Barina team entering the top-tier class in New Zealand. Holden Barina Rallysport will see the return of number 51, with Murphy stepping into the challenge of rally alongside a new teammate, 2013 NZRC RWD champion Josh Marston.
Midway through 2016, RDL Performance team took delivery of its first AP4 Barina from Force Motorsport as a rolling chassis, with the second chassis arriving a month later. The power plant is the EcoBoost two-litre found in the new VXR Astra, but, due to class rules, it’s been destroked to 1800cc. The direct-injection engine runs a Garrett GTX turbo with MFS manifold and class-regulated 34-millimetre restrictor. The electronics package consists of a Life Racing ECU, MoTeC power-distribution module (PDM), and MoTeC dash. Like all Force AP4 machines, the Holdens run a Sadev six-speed, rated to 900Nm; billet hubs; and standardized tubular cross members. However, unlike the other teams, the Holdens are running Brembo R5 brakes and Supashock built uprights.
The first of the two cars is finished and completed a shakedown at Leadfoot, with Murphy managing to place sixth overall. Marston had his first taste of how the AP4 Barina performed on gravel at the Westland Rally in Greymouth, running under the number 000. “They are really nice to drive; they give great feedback,” he stated.
The team is now busy finishing work on the second car, and both vehicles will have started the NZRC in Otago by the time you’re reading NZ Performance Car.