Tauranga’s Phil Campbell continues putting himself amongst New Zealand rallyings finest after a strong showing at the recent Rally Wairarapa.
Campbell and co-driver Venita Fabbro headed to the event, doubling as Round 4 of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, hoping to increase their speed to put them in podium contention, but struggled early on with the handling of the car.
Phil Campbell. Photo: File.
Despite this, the pair recorded a pair of top five stage times to sit in fifth place heading to the first service after stage two.
Stage three saw any chance of a good result ripped away from Campbell when a rear differential failure saw him have to limp through the stage costing some two and a half minutes.
With no service for a further two stages, the Campbell Rally Sport team were forced to change the diff on the touring stage, not only gathering them 3 minutes 40 seconds of time penalties for lateness, but a further 5 minute penalty for gaining outside help.
With The Roofing Store Mitsubishi Evo 9 transformed as the earlier handling issues were traced back to the failing diff, Campbell charged through stage four to set the fourth fastest time, a performance quickly repeated on stage five.
After service, he then set the fifth fastest time on stage six, before improving to third fastest time on stage seven.
Stage eight, the power stage, saw Campbell put in another impressive performance to take three bonus points for the third fastest time, before coming within six tenths of a second of a first ever NZRC stage win on the final stage.
“There are certainly plenty of encouraging things to take away from the weekend, but it certainly is frustrating thinking about what could have been,” says Campbell.
“At least we know why the car wasn’t quite right in the morning and we now know that we are on the right track with what we are learning.”
The Campbell Rally Sport team now prepare for their home event, the Tauranga Clubmans Rally, on July 27.