Subaru brand ambassador Ben Hunt has now scored a hat-trick of round wins in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) after producing a masterful victory at the Lone Star Rally Canterbury yesterday.
Powering his Subaru WRX STI through the seven stages with co-driver Tony Rawstorn, they won every one of them, which hands Hunt a huge 42-point advantage over local driver and last year’s event winner Josh Marston in the overall championship standings. Marston and co-driver Andrew Graves (Holden Barina AP4) finished 1min:08secs behind Hunt and Rawstorn– while another Canterbury-based driver Job Quantock and co-driver Grant Marra completed the podium in their Skoda AP4.
“I think this is one of the few times we’ve ever clean-swept the stage wins, so that’s always an awesome feeling. Playing the long day back in my head last night, made it hard to go to sleep! There were times when there were only a few seconds between us and the other teams, which made for some great battles throughout the rally,” Hunt says.
Despite a threatening forecast, the heavy rain, cold winds and snow did not materialise and instead, the public roads and forest passes north of Christchurch were hard-packed. Organisers did have to cancel one stage and shorten another due to the road conditions, but it didn’t dim Hunt’s enjoyment of the event.
“I really liked the stages going north towards Cheviot and Amberley, which we haven’t done for a few years. It was also fun to fix the Hella lights to the Subaru for the final stage in Ashley Forest and drive at night,” Hunt says.
Although he now has a commanding lead in the NZRC – after winning the national championship category at Otago and Whangarei – Hunt won’t be buttoning off in his Subaru WRX STI for the final three rallies.
“We will still keep pushing to finish strongly – nothing will change there. We will just keep doing our thing, with an eye on winning the championship.”
The NZRC returns to the South Island in three weeks for Rally South Canterbury, before heading to the North Island for the final two rounds.