Dunedin drivers again had a field day on fast and dry roads at the Waimate 50 motorsport events over Labour weekend.
Last year's winner, Craig Molloy, of Dunedin, took overall honours in his Mitsubishi Evo 3RS at the McKeowan Petroleum Waimate GT 50 Series held in and around the South Canterbury town.
Points were awarded for three events, with Molloy finishing fifth in the hillclimb, eighth in the rally sprint and third in the street sprint to finish 12 points ahead of Waimate resident Bert Murray (Mazda RX7 Group B) and Oamaru's Scott Simpson (Mitsubishi Evo 7).
Dunedin driver Mike Wellington said Sunday's 6km gravel rally sprint became a flat-out battle between a group of Dunedin-based Evo drivers, including his brother Steve, who had won the hillclimb event on Saturday.
"After the third timed run, Steve and I were a 10th of a second apart, which over a long stage shows how close things were. The fastest Evo was two-10ths faster than me as my best time was 2.44.90sec. Steve did a 2.45.00, Oamaru driver Scott Simpson 2.44.70 and Craig Molloy a 2.45.20."
Mike Wellington went into what was to be his final run in second place and, with a win a possibility, was having a clean run on fast, swept roads until near the end of the sprint, when he clipped a grass verge and flipped.
"It's an extremely fast piece of road with a lot of third-, fourth-, fifth-gear driving. As a pace-noted rally sprint, I was having pace notes read to me for the first three runs - it turned out I really needed them for the last run too, as it's an extremely quick road.
"You can get up to 190kmh at the fastest part of the track, which is where I left the road. It's a blind crest which has caught other drivers in the past."
Wellington and his co-driver walked away unscathed.
"It is not something you want to put to the test, but it is incredible how well-built the car is and how strong the roll cage is," he said.
The Wellingtons, who both race Evo 6 RS2s, have driven the versatile Mitsubishi cars for more than a decade.
Mike Wellington plans to assess the damage and be back racing as soon as possible.
Other Dunedin Evos also featured in the street sprint, where Glenn Frew and Elliot Charles battled it over four timed runs.
Frew won with 1.08.00, 1.21 seconds ahead of Elliot. Molloy, having spent most of the day competing in the Dunlop Rally Sprint completed one run around Waimate to record the third-fastest time and cement overall victory. Kerian Pratt, of Dunedin, won the quarter-mile event in 11.68sec in an Evo 6.
Overall results (unofficial):1. Craig Molloy, Mitsubishi Evolution III, Dunedin 287 points 2. Bert Murray, Mainfreight Mazda RX7 GpB Waimate 275 3. Scott Simpson, Mitsubishi Evolution VII, Oamaru 273 4. Sam Haugh, Mitsubishi Lancer, Fairlie 270 5. Paul Beattie, Mitsubishi Evolution VII, Cromwell 264 8. Dylan Cameron, Toyota Corolla DX, Oamaru 233 11. Derek Ayson, Ford Escort Mk2, Gore 220 12. Tony Johnston, Ford Capri V8, Dunedin 212 14. John Mather, Datsun 1200, Oamaru 210.
- Sam Stevens
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