In the weeks after the Drivesouth International Otago Rally, Ben Hunt has made some changes to his Subaru WRX STi’s new after-market Motec computer system ahead of this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei.
His Ben Hunt Motorsport team have been working hard on getting the car ready in the three-week turn-around and have bought in some outside assistance to fine-tune the computer set-up to maximise the Subaru’s performance.
“We went testing on Sunday and I think we are making head-way. I’m hoping that the changes will translate into speed in the actual event,” Hunt says.
Towards the end of the Otago Rally, Hunt and co-driver Tony Rawstorn were beginning to demonstrate some of the pace that saw them win the 2015 New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC). They achieved three, top-five stage times, in the final three tests.
The second round of the Brian Green Property Group NZRC, Whangarei is also a two-day rally and doubles as the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. The competition takes place across 16 closed road stages spread around the Northland region on the Saturday and Sunday.
Rally fans will get their first look at the cars and drivers at Friday’s autograph signing session from 5pm at Whangarei’s Pohe Island. This is followed by the 6pm cultural welcome and ceremonial start with the first test – the 1km long Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage – to start at 7pm and run twice. Tickets start at $20, with free entry for children under 15-years-old.
Hunt Motorsport fans can pick up a copy of the rally map and spectating day passes for the rural stages ($10) from rally headquarters (ground floor, Toll Stadium, 51 Okara Drive, Whangarei) or download one from www.rallywhangarei.co.nz, and head out to the stages to see the Subaru in action at the spectator points.
After the final test of 270-competitive-kilometre event, the cars return for the 3pm ceremonial finish at the Quayside Town Basin, adjacent to the inner harbour and city centre.
Ben Hunt Motorsport is grateful for support in the 2017 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship from: Subaru of New Zealand, Hydraulink, Motul Oil, Gull NZ Fuel, Dunlop, CL Brakes, Reiger suspension, Bluebridge, MTF Finance, Vantage Windows and Doors, The Body Shop, Wurth, Winger Subaru, Entech, Vernon Developments, TCC Solutions, Speedhub Motorsport, Hitech Motorsport, Hunt Diesel and Make Architects.
2017 New Zealand Rally Championship calendar
Round 1: Rally of Otago, Dunedin – 8-9 April
Round 2: International Rally of Whangarei – 28-30 April
Round 3: Canterbury Rally, Christchurch – 4 June
Round 4: Rally of Coromandel – 26 August
Round 5: Rally Waikato, Waitomo – 14 October
Round 6, Rally New Zealand, Tauranga – 25-26 November