Whitianga produced a perfect day for the Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel last Saturday, and Dave Holder was determined to put in his best performance yet in the Stadium Cars Ltd Mitsubishi.
But the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship is no walk in the park, and despite good intentions Holder needed to conquer more than a few obstacles to reach the podium.
Dave Holder in full flight during the Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel.
Beginning with an 11.1 km first stage, Holder was immediately caught out when he tucked in tight on a corner clipping the bank.
Thinking he had a puncture from the impact he nursed the car to the stage finish, only to find out there had been no damage done.
“I was pretty sure I had a puncture, took it easy and it cost me, which is disappointing as we really wanted to give this rally a good crack.”
The tight twisty roads of the second stage of the rally took its toll on co-driver Ben Hawkins as he succumbed to car sickness.
The team managed to complete the stage and a decision was made to continue without pace notes hoping the sickness would pass.
Unfortunately with the nature of the tight roads it wasn’t to be and the next four rally stages were tackled blind – without pace notes.
“I was concerned for Ben, but knew we just had to persist and to be fair I’m pretty happy with my times through those stages considering the circumstances.”
Just to keep Mike from Force Automotive and the service crew extra busy during the day, Holder managed to bend a steering arm in half, again this happened while tucking in tight on a corner of special stage four, with a stray rock doing the damage.
Special stage eight of the rally, the power stage – when extra points can be gained – saw Hawkins back on form, and Holder again on pace notes, posting the second fastest time for the stage.
With the rally’s final stage nine being too short to grab the rally lead from Phil Campbell, Holder 17.3 seconds behind, placed second in the NZRC rally.
“It was a testing day all round but we are pretty happy with the outcome. Those extra points for the power stage are a bonus.”
With Holder gaining four podiums from the last four NZRC rallies, he currently sits in second on the NZRC points table with Mason having already taken the championship title.
Several drivers are in contention for the remaining two championship positions, the battle will be decided at the final NZRC round, Rally Day Breaker, in late September.
Holder also managed to secure the NZRC Junior Championship for 2014 with one rally to spare.