NZ Performance Car - - Inside Line -

The top tier of the NZRC ( New Zealand Rally Cham­pi­onship) looks stronger than ever thanks to the in­jected ex­cite­ment the new breed of AP4 cars brings to the gravel. Skoda, Toy­ota, Mazda, Ford, Holden and now Audi all have ma­chines ready to line up against the tra­di­tional 4WD Mit­subishi and Subaru ve­hi­cles. Dy­lan Turner and co-driver Mal­colm Read are the lat­est to bring a fresh brand to the gravel, with their Audi S1 built to AP4 regs by Pukekohe’s Choice Per­for­mance.

The duo are no strangers to the NZ Rally Cham­pi­onship, hav­ing con­tested the rally in their LJ Hooker–backed Evo IX, but the pace and ap­par­ent ease of drive of the AP4s caught Dy­lan’s eye, as he ex­plains. “We were rea­son­ably com­pet­i­tive in the Evo IX, but it was get­ting a bit old. We had seen the pace the AP4s were show­ing and de­cided to build one last year.” But why an Audi? “I’ve al­ways loved Audis, I’ve driven an RS4 for the last 10 years, and af­ter see­ing the EKS Red Bull GRC A1s, I thought it would be awe­some to see one here as a rally car.”

Build­ing an AP4 Audi is not as ex­per­i­men­tal as it might sound, the en­gine pack­age the team uses is well proven in rally, and bet­ter yet, it’s 100 per cent Audi. “We went with the 1600cc en­gine that Skoda has been run­ning in R5 for the past few years, as it’s ac­tu­ally an Audi block and head.” The team was able to pur­chase a com­pleted and dyno tuned pack­age straight out of Europe, which should see them on the pace much faster than if they’d had to de­velop one from scratch. Mak­ing just over 224kW, the 1600 uses a top-of-the line Mag­neti Marelli ECU. The diffs and gear­box are Xtrac com­po­nents, and the up­rights and sub­frames are all AP4 con­trol items sup­plied by Force Motorsport. Sus­pen­sion is EXT Rac­ing, which Hay­den Pad­don im­ports.

By the time this mag­a­zine hits the shelves the car will have com­pleted a round of test­ing and made its de­but at the In­ter­na­tional Rally of Whangarei. Next is­sue we will take an in depth look at the car, so keep an eye out.

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