AUDI TO CONTEST NZRC
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.