ROBINSON TO TAKE ON SILVER FERN CHALLENGE
Historic ace to send his Fiat to New Zealand for epic rally attempt
Matthew Robinson says that the Silver Fern Rally in November will be the biggest test yet for the Fiat 131 Abarth project conceived and built by Rally Sport Developments.
Robinson and co-driver Sam Collis have spent this season putting as many competitive miles as possible into the first car for development and will now take a freshly-built 131 to New Zealand for the weeklong 700-stage mile event.
“We’ve tried to get as many miles on the original car as we could before shipping the new one,” said Robinson. “The new one is finished in period Alitalia colours.
“I’ve never done the event before and we’re going to do everything we can to get round and finish,” said Robinson. “Some of the stages in New Zealand are as long as a complete rally in the UK. That’s a big test for the 131 but if we get a good run I think we can be up there.”
A major spares package is being shipped with the car and key components from the first car may be air-freighted to New Zealand as a back up once it has completed the BHRC season on the Trackrod Historic Cup on October 1.
Robinson believes that the Fiat, developed by Kevin Theaker and his small team in Yorkshire, can be a rival to the Ford Escorts that dominate historic rallying in the UK.
“We’ve still got a lot to do with the project and it was never going to be easy, but maybe next year we can challenge the BHRC Escort boys,” said Robinson.
The Fiat 131 will tackle 700-mile event