Plenty of Otago action anticipated

By Catherine Pattison on Mon, 16 Oct 2017 | Latest News
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Dunedin’s Tim Mackersey and Queenstown’s Barry Moore are leading the South Island Endurance Series three-hour Class B (2001-3500cc) by 12 points in their VW GolfGTi. PHOTO: GEOFF RIDDER

Otago drivers will be competing in circuit racing and rallying today as the South Island Endurance Series (SIES) wraps up and the New Zealand Rally Championship enters its penultimate round.

Dunedin's Chris Henderson is the best-placed Otago driver going into the final round at Timaru's Levels Raceway, having won the first two rounds in his V8-powered Toyota AE86. 

However, with 95 points on offer, the overall and class championships are far from decided, and there are 15 cars that can mathematically claim series glory.
The battles will be fierce throughout the field, with Henderson holding a slender advantage in Class C (3501cc+) over the Corvette C6R of Alexandra's Bruce Davidson.

Class A (0-2000cc) is currently led by the immaculate ex-WTCC BMW E90 of Christchurch's Anthony Leighs after a CV failure sidelined Dunedin brothers Arron and Stu Black (BMW E46 WTCC), who were winning the class after the opening round.

The one-hour race will be followed by the three-hour finale, with 17 teams still in the running for the overall series victory.

Tim Mackersey, of Dunedin, and Queenstown's Barry Moore (VW Golf GTi) lead Class B (2001-3500cc) by 12 points from Ron Mackersey (Tim's dad) and Dunedin's Warren Good, and the Mazda RX8 of Timaru's Jarrod Parmenter/Andrew Brunton.

The 0-2000cc Class A is led by the Black brothers, who are pulling double duty in the one-hour series.

Meanwhile, over in the NZRC, Dunedin-based Rhys Gardner is fourth overall as the six-round series heads into today's fifth round, the one-day Rally of Waitomo. He joins a capacity 81-car field in his Mazda 2 AP4 as the national championship returns to the Waikato for the first time in more than a decade.

Leading out on the six-stage 207km event is No. 1 seed and defending champion David Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer. Currently fifth in the championship, Holder will take over the wheel of Greg Murphy's Holden Barina AP4, as the former circuit racing star is unavailable for the final two rounds of the NZRC.

Behind Holder comes current championship points leader Andrew Hawkeswood and co-driver Jeff Cress in a Mazda 2 AP4+. The Aucklander is chasing his maiden national rally title and heads to Waikato with a seven-point lead over Rangiora Subaru driver Matt Summerfield.

Third in the championship race is Auckland's Ben Hunt, who has been consistently collecting points in his Subaru WRX STi and rediscovering his 2015 championship-winning form.

Dunedin's Emma Gilmour and co-driver Anthony McLoughlin are targeting a solid finish in her Suzuki Swift AP4.

‘‘After a tough start to the season, we were pleased to finish at Rally Coromandel in August. We had made some changes before that event, but they didn't put us in the right direction, so after some testing this week, we will be setting the Suzuki up differently for Waitomo,'' Gilmour said.