Escorts dominate Classic Rally of Otago
Last year's Dunlop International Rally of Otago winner, Derek Ayson, will take a 21.1 second lead into day two of the 2010 event after a consistent first day.
Ayson and Greg Scott won six of the day's eight stages in their Nissan-powered Ford Escort and are on course for their second consecutive victory.
Regan Ross is second in his BDA-engined Escort and looks to be Ayson's
only challenger. He is over three minutes ahead of the third
placegetter, Jeff Judd in a Vauxhall Chevette.
Judd is driving the Vauxhall for the first time, and has regular NZRC
driver Mark Tapper calling the pacenotes for him.
Italian star, Piero Liatti, finished in the top three placings in all
but one of the day's stages, but dropped nearly three minutes when his
Escort RS1800 died in a water crossing on stage four.
Liatti and co-driver Fabrizia Pons recovered well, and are still a big
chance of finishing on the podium after the eight stages of day two.
Shane Murland is fifth in another Escort, while Stewart Reid, on his
Otago Rally debut, is the first Australian in sixth place, driving a
Darryn Snooks is the next best Aussie in tenth place, but countrymen
John Spencer (Datsun 1600), Keith Callinan (Escort RS1800 – engine) and
Mike Conway (Escort) all retired during the day.
Others not to make the end of day one included local favourite Duncan
McCrostie who suffered gearbox failure in his turbo Bluebird, and
Deborah Kibble, with engine failure in her Lancer Turbo.
Day two starts tomorrow morning with a further eight stages, before the
finish back in Dunedin on Sunday afternoon.
2010 Dunlop International Rally of Otago
Results after Day 1
1. Derek Ayson / Greg Scott, Ford Escort FJ2000, 1h28m47.4s
2. Regan Ross / Darren Galbraith, Ford Escort RS1800, +21.1s
3. Jeff Judd / Mark Tapper, Vauxhall Chevette HSR, +3m46.9s
4. Piero Liatti / Fabrizi Pons, Ford Escort RS1800, +3m50.3s
5. Shane Murland / John Benton, Ford Escort RS1800, +5m28.4s
6. Stewart Reid / Iain Stewart, Datsun 1600, +6m32.2s