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Chris West leads Rally of Otago after Day 1

Otago RallyChristchurch’s
Chris West started the opening day of the Rally of Otago today how he
would like to continue, winning the first stage and staying right on
pace to lead by 56 seconds at the end of the day.

Aluminium New Zealand Rally Championship competitors rallied over dry
and warm stages north of Dunedin and were challenged with a run of the
famous Danseys Pass in Central Otago.

“It’s a great
start to the championship,” West said after completing the
afternoon’s Dunedin Tarmac Superstage near the wharf.

Taylor proved that moving to a new car doesn’t mean you need a
settling in period. His Evo X led the morning run after a blistering
time on the 26km Danseys Pass stage. It looked to become a good fight
with Chris West until Taylor’s car spluttered through the ford on
Stage Six.

Both Richard
Mason and Emma Gilmour struggled throughout the day sweeping away up
to 10cm deep surface gravel in their new hatch Subaru Impreza STI
cars, although Andrew Hawkeswood running second on the road between them
in his Open Class 4WD Mitsubishi Evo XII didn’t seem to succumb to
the same issue.

“It is
frustrating, but what can you do?” Mason said at midday service.

wrapped up second overall and top Open Class points for the day after
holding off an afternoon assault from 25 year old Patrick Malley – who
was extremely happy with second Group N and third overall, continuing
his good form from winning the Tauranga Clubman’s Rally two weeks ago.

Glenn Smith
and Dominick Unterberger both had massive offs on Stage One and Two
respectively. Both crews are okay, Smith is out for the whole rally
but Unterberger’s team are working overnight to attempt to restart

Fiesta driver
and Hamiltonian Stephen Barker eased into his first Rally Otago and
his comfortably quick pace rewarded him with full day one points for
Group N 2WD and New Zealand Fiesta Sporting Trophy.

In Kiwi 2
Matt Summerfield had a frustrating, but productive day finding slower
cars in front hard to get past but eventually managing to take a
comfortable class lead.

Challenge competitors were placed further down the running order as
part of the Dunlop International Classic Rally. Kaikoura’s Regan Ross
pulled top class honours for the day while a happily surprised Jeff Judd
bagged day one points for second.

tackle stages closer to Dunedin tomorrow with service based at
Middlemarch before returning to the Octagon for the rally finish at

2010 Rally of Otago
New Zealand Rally Championship
Results after Day 1

1. Chris West / Chris Cobham, Mitsubishi Lancer, 1h25m13.7s
2. Andrew Hawkeswood / Rocky Hudson, Mitsubishi Lancer, +56.3s
3. Patrick Malley / Malcolm Read, Mitsubishi Lancer, +1m01.2s
4. Dean Sumner / Paul Fallon, Mitsubishi Lancer, +1m16.6s
5. Emma Gilmour / Glenn Macneall, Subaru Impreza WRX, +1m26.0s
6. Richard Mason / Hamish Fenemor, Subaru Impreza WRX, +1m42.8s

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