Buist secures third Otago Classic Rally victory
Deane Buist and Karl Celeste have won the ENEOS Motor Oils Otago Classic Rally in fine style, taking a dominant win in their Toyota Celica Group B replica.
In his first drive in the car, Buist overcame a fuel pump scare before the start of day two and was put into a tough fight with Jeff Judd in a Ford Escort.
However, Judd stopped with engine problems three stages from home, easing the pressure on the Christchurch driver and allowing him to finish more than a minute ahead of John Silcock and Donna Elder in a Mazda RX7.
In third place after two days and 15 hard fought stages were Shane Murland and Kane Seymour in a Ford Escort RS1800.
This was Buist’s third win in the Otago Classic Rally. His first came in 2007 in a Ford Escort, his second coming just last year in a Volkswagen Golf GTI.
He won seven of the 15 special stages contested over the weekend, fulling deserving his victory.
Fourth place was Jonty Brenssell and Daph O’Rourke in a Toyota Starlet, with the all-girl crew of Deb Kibble and Heather Barton rounding out the top five in their Mitsubishi Lancer Turbo.
Positions six and seven were the Ford Escorts of Anthony Jones / Zoe Jones and Tim McIver / Brent Wilson, and celebrity guest driver, drift star ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse completed his first rally in an impressive eight place.
With the experienced Ian McKee calling the pace notes, ‘Fanga’ Dan more than made up for the pre-event hype in the Rossendale Wines Ford Escort RS1800 and had a smile on his face all weekend.
Another Escort, that of Alan Warren and Rachel Chadwick, was ninth, with the final spot in the top 10 going to veteran Allan Dippie and Paul Coghill in their gorgeous Porsche 911 Turbo.
Day 2 of the Otago Rally saw competitors tackle eight stages in perfect weather conditions. The rally went south west of Dunedin to Waihola, with the route including famous stages such as Waipori Gorge, Whare Flat and the legendary Kuri Bush.
There were 133 competitive kilometres over the day, before the rally finished in sunny conditions at the seaside village of Brighton.
Final Results: ENEOS Otago Classic Rally
1. Deane Buist / Karl Celeste, Toyota Celica Group B, 2h24m47.9s
2. John Silcock / Donna Elder, Mazda RX7 Group B, +1m12.2s
3. Shane Murland / Kane Seymour, Ford Escort RS1800, +2m24.1s
4. Jonty Brenssell / Daph O’Rourke, Toyota Starlet, +6m42.7s
5. Deborah Kibble / Heather Barton, Mitsubishi Lancer EX Turbo, +7m02.8s
COX WINS CLASSIC 4WD
It’s been a faultless drive from Steve Cox and Laurie Brenssell that has given them a crunching 8m40s victory in the Classic 4WD class in their Subaru Impreza H6. Others may have been faster, but they were the most consistent, and they reap the rewards.
Amy Keighley and Nikita Gibson overcame problems on day one in their Subaru to finish second, a minute and a half ahead of the Subaru Legacy RS of Simon Bell and Warwick Martin.
The final place getters were Tom Milliken fourth, Nigel Ede fifth and Chris Lockyear sixth.
Olympic Gold Medallist, Hamish Bond, enjoyed his Otago Rally debut despite again retiring on day two. Unluckily for Bond, his Subaru suffered its second gearbox failure in as many days.