Double New Zealand Rally Champion Richard Mason and Co-Driver Fiancee Sara Randall are happy to have finished sixth in the latest round of the China Rally Championship - the all-tarmac Rally of Huairou based in Beijing - last weekend June 16-17.
Not only were the Masterton Flyers competing in a foreign land, but also on a foreign road surface, as this was the first time they had driven together on a tarmac rally. In fact, this was only the third time Richard had ever competed on the 'black stuff' since he started rallying almost ten years ago.
"As`we said before we went, without doubt this one was going to be our toughest assignment yet in China, as not only do we have limited tarmac experience ourselves, but some of our opposition are absolute experts in this type of rallying and had purpose-built cars and tyres.
"However, as always, that didn't stop us getting out there and giving it our best shot. The first day was pretty average [they were 7th fastest out of the 71 starters on each of the six stages], as we settled in to the different technique it takes to get the best out of driving flat out on such a different surface to what we are used to back home in NZ, as well as having to overcome some fuel and tyre issues as well.
"The Sunday was better [5th fastest for the day], so sixth was a satisfactory overall result and especially so as, with all four of our cars finishing, we were the only team to get all their cars home. Needless to say, our Team Bosses were very, very happy.
"So the whole trip was a valuable learning experience as we picked up a lot of knowledge regarding the car setup and driving style necessary to make the most of tarmac stages. It will be interesting to see how we can apply all that to our job as the 0 Car at the Waitomo Rally this Saturday.
So Richard and Sara will be straight back into their BNT Subaru for the Genuine Vehicle Imports (GVI) Rally of Waitomo - another all-tarmac rally being run out of Te Kuiti this Saturday June 23. They will use 'EVOETA' as one of the organiser’s safety cars, running just a few minutes ahead of the competitors, warning spectators and marshals, that the event is near.
Rally chairman Steve Burley said “it’s a bit of a coup to get Richard and Sara, and even though they’re not competing, spectators will still be able to see NZ’s No1 pairing in action, and in their current car. Actually they are doing this as a bit of a favour for me as we’ve been friends for a long time now”.
With the Hamilton Car Club promoted event receiving support from the Waitomo District Council, part of King Street East in Te Kuiti (opposite the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre), will be closed off for the official Rally Finish and the Rally Show, which is expected to begin about 3.30pm and should conclude by around 6.00pm.
Both Richard and Sara will be available with the BNT Subaru at a signing session at their promotional tent.
Outright Results – Rally Beijing
1. David Higgins/Ieuan Thomas (GB) (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) 1hr 44mins 51.7 secs
2. Martin Rowe (GB)/Dale Moscatt (AUS) (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) @ + 2mins 09.2 secs
3. Xu Lang (China) (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) @ + 2mins 41.6 secs
4. Liu Cao Dong (China)/Anthony McLaughlin (AUS) (Subaru Impreza WRX) @ + 3 mins 03.9 secs
5. Dean Herridge/Bill Hayes (AUS) (Subaru Impreza WRX) @ + 3 mins 25.8 secs
6. Richard Mason/Sara Randall (NZ) (Subaru Impreza WRX) @ + 4 mins 28.7 secs
NOTE for your interest:
Below is a translated extract from the China Rallying official website- http://220.127.116.11/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&langpair=zh-CN%7Cen&u=http://autosports.sport.org.cn/zgsc/fhll/index.html
Getting information up on the website over there is not easy as any info has to be approved by the government before it can be published.
Super Sky -- June 17, 2007 National Rally Championship, the second leg of the competition -- Huairou Rally second stage of the competition staged spectacular. 佳通轮胎东方车队的三辆“战车”发挥出色，全部顺利完成比赛，成为此站比赛中唯一一支全部赛车均完赛的N组车队，并取得了全场第六、第八、第十四名的好成绩，一举拿下5分的年度积分。Better links tire fleet of three East "chariot" play well, the successful completion of all games, this station has become the only competitor to have a full racing End of the tournament in Group N convoy and made the audience 6th, 8th, 14th in a row, winning the 5-year integration.
当天的比赛共4个赛段，反方向使用了琉璃庙至河北村，头道梁至莲花池，长度分别是18.35公里和17.69公里,往返重复使用2次。Day of the contest four of the tournament, against the direction of the glass used to Hebei village temple, the first Leung to Lotus Pond length of 18.35 km and 17.69 km, from the repeated use of the 2nd. 经过了第一天6个赛段的练兵和较量，赛手们对本站比赛的两个柏油赛道已经相当熟悉，也正因如此最后的争夺显得势在必行，分秒必争的比赛也更加扣人心弦。After the first six days of military training in the tournament and contests were racing to the site of the competition two asphalt track is already quite familiar with, That is why the final is imperative for everyone sings the competition more thrilling.
上午9点11分，第一阶段成绩暂居首位的12号赛车率先冲过起点线。9:11, the first stage results placed first in the first on the 12th racing across the starting line. 佳通轮胎东方车队的三部赛车分别排在了第7、第13、第16的发车位置。Good tires Oriental links three of the fleet racing were ranked No. 7, 13, 16 passenger planes in the position. 尽管柏油赛道不是外援梅森的强项，但是他和领航莎拉并没有因此而气馁，依然紧追不舍，取得了全场第六的成绩，为佳通轮胎东方车队赢得了3分的积分。Although asphalt track is not foreign aid Mason's strengths, but he and navigator Sarah did not lose heart, still in hot pursuit, made the audience sixth achievements.
Richard & Sara's China Team website is accessible through - http://18.104.22.168/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&langpair=zh-CN%7Cen&u=http://www.fjomc.com/
It contains a selection of photos & videos.
For further information about the Genuine Vehicle Imports (GVI) Rally of Waitomo - www.hamiltoncarclub.org.nz
For Rally Results & Information - www.chrissport.co.nz
For further information about the 2007 Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship - www.motorsport.org.nz/Rally/nzrc/index.htm
Television coverage of the Hella International Rally of Whangarei will be aired on Powerbuilt Motorsport TV One (1st July)
Television coverage of the Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa will be aired on Powerbuilt Motorsport TV One (8th July)