Huge numbers for 2022 NZRC, tight battle predicted￼
A phenomenal 52 entries across 11 different manufacturers will take part at the season-opening Otago Rally later this week.
Of that, there are 18 entries in the NZRC 4WD class with 10 different manufacturers. Four of those competitors have manufacturer backing – defending champion Hayden Paddon with Hyundai, youngster Robbie Stokes with Ford, two-time national champion Ben Hunt with Skoda and second-generation star Jack Hawkeswood with Toyota.
In addition to those four standouts, fellow NZRC rally winners Raana Horan (Skoda), Phil Campbell (Ford), Josh Marston (Holden), Emma Gilmour (Suzuki), Brian Green (Mitsubishi) and Todd Bawden (Ford) all loom as likely contenders.
Experienced campaigners Dylan Turner (Audi), Kingsley Jones (Skoda), Duncan McCrostie (Mazda), Glenn Inkster (Mazda) and Matt Jensen (Mazda) should be competitive while the progression of youngster Ari Pettigrew (Holden) and Mike Young (Subaru) will be worth watching this season.
There are also two more drivers set to join the competition at round two with Andy Martin (Volkswagen) and Haydn Mackenzie (Toyota) set to join the championship and equal the all-time class record.
There is a new record of entries in class 2 – the NZRC Group N 2WD championship, which looks to be a super tight battle between a host of up-and-coming stars of the sport and a couple of wily veterans.
The Historic 2WD and Open 2WD classes will be a close affair once again while a total of 13 different competitors will take on the Rally Challenge 4WD championship.