Changes aplenty for Mason for 2010 Otago Rally
A new Car, a new Co-Driver and new Roads mean plenty of changes for double New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason as he prepares to begin his assault on the New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] at the opening round – Rally Otago – this weekend – April 9 – 11.
BNT Mason Motorsport's brand new Prodrive-built Subaru impreza will make it's debut when Mason drives over the start ramp outside the Dunedin Railway Station this Friday evening, to lead away the 85 car field for the 16 stage event.
"It's always been our goal to run a 'works' car, and when we heard that
this Prodrive-built N2009 model was available – and had only done 10k of
testing – we decided it was too good an opportunity to miss," said
"It's probably the most sophisticated Group N [rally] car ever seen in
the NZRC and we can't wait to 'let it loose' on those fantastic Otago
"It's left-hand-drive, so that will take a bit of getting used to, but
we have now also got a left-hand-drive recce car, so that will speed up
the process and ensure we get our [pace] notes right."
With Richard and Sara having recently welcomed the arrival of their new
son Khalid, brother-in-law Hamish Fenemor returns to co-drive for
Richard for Otago, where they will look to backup from their last outing
at Nelson at the end of last season. On that occasion they piloted
Murray Huband’s PC Factory/BNT Subaru to a fine 2nd place and, in so
doing, secured the runner-up position in the 2009 NZRC.
And, just to add another twist, this year's Rally Otago will differ
significantly from recent editions by venturing much further north of
Dunedin – as far as Oamaru – and will use classic rally roads such as
Danseys Pass, roads that have not seen NZRC cars for nearly 10 years.
"It will be great to drive some of these 'new' stages and mix them with
our regular favourites like Kuri Bush and Waipori Gorge, and it should
all make for quite a challenge," said Richard.
"However, although our natural instinct is to go to every rally looking
to win, this year our absolute priority for Otago has to be to get as
much time in our new BNT Subaru as possible, so we are totally familiar
with every aspect of it as we head off for another shot at the PWRC
[Production World Rally Championship] at Rally New Zealand next month
[May 6 – 9]."