Rear view on the rally season

It may have been a slightly disappointing finish to the season for Tauranga’s top two rally drivers, but Dave Holder and Phil Campbell are already planning for an even better season to follow this year’s debut.

“It’s been a fantastic season for my first year in 4WD,” says Dave, who slipped from second to third overall in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship table at the recent Manawatu’s GoPro Daybreaker Rally, which completed the six-round season.

Mount Maunganui driver Dave Holder claimed third place at the GoPro Daybreaker Rally in Manawatu, sealing his third place overall for the NZRC season. Photo by Bruce Belcher.

Dave finished third – dropping to just one point behind Ben Hunt, who was 43 seconds ahead in second place – to earn 95 points for the six-round season.

The title and a handful of records were claimed by Richard and Sara Mason, who’ve dominated the season with a total 174 points from the five wins from all the rounds they competed in.

Despite performing slightly off the pace Dave should have been at the initial night stages and during the afternoon, but says he learned the most he had all season from any round thanks to advice from his co-driver motorsport advisor John Kennard.

“He was talking about driving techniques and a lot about how to use notes, which was a great help.”

While Dave’s racing has concluded for 2014 he’s already focussed on drumming up sponsorship during the next month so he has backing for next season.

“It’s one of the hardest and most important jobs,” says Dave, who was reminded of the importance of strong support when he had to raise more sponsorship halfway through this season.

He’ll also be working with co-driver John and mentor Hayden Paddon to put together a plan for next year to build up seat-time.

Fellow Western Bay driver Phil Campbell finished the season in sixth place, after what he described as an extremely long day racing where he had a close duel with Matt and Nicole Summerfield, who eventually claimed fourth place ahead of them.

“It was a really close battle between us; it was really exciting,” says Phil, who was unable to improve on his four second margin from with only two stages remaining.
 “It was really good to get another solid finish under our belts, it’s been a pretty good way to finish the championship,” says Phil, who admits he was hoping to finish a little higher up the ladder after aiming to claim fifth spot for the season with a better Manawatu result.

Earning a total of 54 points in his first season in the NZRC’s top 4WD class, Phil finished just three points behind fifth place Lance Williams and says he’s pleased with major improvements made during the last six months.

He picked up the pace halfway through the season with his confidence-boosting maiden win at the Tauranga Clubman’s Rally and his second placing at the Coromandel Goldrush Rally.

“I’m definitely happy with where we are now. I’ve made a lot of progress with my driving and getting to know the car,” says Phil, who like Dave is determined to build on this season next year.

This weekend Phil and co-driver Venita Fabbro are aiming for more success at the Paihia’s Rally of the North, the last round of the Rally Extreme Series.

During the coming months Phil will work on his Mitsubishi Evo 9 to give it more power and make it lighter “so we can be more competitive with the top drivers”.


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