Rally driver Dave Holder heads to this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei with very specific goals in mind.
Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer, from Mt Maunganui and Hamilton respectively, are currently competing overseas in the 2018 FIA Junior World Rally Championship with the Portuguese event next on their international calendar.
The pair will compete in the two-day Whangarei event – the only rally in New Zealand run to international FIA regulations – in a two-wheel-drive (2WD) Fiesta similar to the car they use in the JWRC.
“Whangarei is obviously a perfect leadup to Portugal for us,” says Holder. “Firstly, it’s the only rally in New Zealand with a two-pass recce (as per the FIA regulations) so we can continue with the vital practice of writing our own notes. That’s required on our JWRC events and as Rally Whangarei offers the only opportunity to learn this while you’re doing domestic events, this is something we’re having to learn very fast at present.
“Secondly, I’m going to spend the whole rally left-foot braking. It’s something I have never done so it will be essentially the first time I’ve used the technique in a competitive situation. It is a style of driving we’ve decided is needed to get the best performance out of these cars.
Holder is able to use in the Fiesta thanks to another competitor, Mike Sheehan, director of Sheehan Motorsport and Truck Moves NZ. “It’s very generous of Sheehan Motorsport to allow us to compete in their car. It’s ideal for us to work on these two important elements of our performance as part of our international campaign.”
Holder expects a few local competitors in similar 2WD cars to compare their pace against his own. Having entered the club-level category, i.e. Clubmans’ field, not the full New Zealand Rally Championship category, Holder says: “Our focus is on the elements we need for our Portugal preparation, not on the actual results in this rally.”
Holder is appreciative of all those who have supported and continue to support his international campaign. “An especially big thanks to Farmline Machinery which has already backed our JWRC campaign and have now helped us do Whangarei as well.”
The 5-6 May running of Rally Whangarei will mark the seventh time that Holder has contested the rally, the third run with Farmer alongside.
“I love this rally for the roads,” Holder says. “They get me excited and it’s going to be great having a run on gravel – the surface I obviously know best as we head to our first gravel JWRC event in just two weeks.”
Holder acknowledges the continued support of HWR Group, Mt Wheel Alignment, Chicane Racewear, Magnum Compliance, Farmline Machinery, Mt Bikes, KPMG Tauranga, Cooney Lees Morgan, Bell Booth, Thurlow Building & Construction, Monit Rally Computers and Amplified Customs.