MCRAE VIC­TO­RI­OUS AT ASH­LEY FOR­EST

NZ Performance Car - - Team -

While two Kiwi driv­ers ducked out of the running with me­chan­i­cal is­sues, Scots­man Alis­ter McRae held true to be­come the first in­ter­na­tional driver to win The Ash­ley For­est Rallysprint, with a 55.35s in his sec­ond run in the fi­nal, beat­ing Neil Webb’s 56.04s. The his­tory-mak­ing vic­tory comes off the back of McRae tak­ing top honours at Rod Millen’s Lead­foot Fes­ti­val ear­lier in the year, both times be­hind the wheel of the ex–Pos­sum Bourne Van­tage WRX — a fit­ting ve­hi­cle for the oc­ca­sion, as Bourne had won the event in 1989, 1991, and 2000.

Kiwi World Rally Cham­pi­onship driver Hayden Pad­don looked to be headed to­wards a cours­ere­cord set­ting time un­til the 2.1-litre fire-breather in his Hyundai AP4 dropped its oil mid run and saw the in­ter­nals sent to hell — it’s the sec­ond year in a row that me­chan­i­cals have plagued him at the event.

Like­wise with cur­rent record holder Sloan Cox, who was left with power only at the fronts when a hy­draulic cen­tre diff pump blew, the car prov­ing too much to pedal through the ruts, which led to a bro­ken rear arm. But con­so­la­tion for a tough week­end is that his 2017 record still stands at 54.96s.

McRae nipped at Cox’s heels with a fastest time of 55.17s over the week­end.

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