Ben Hunt celebrates his birthday finishing second in Rally Whangarei

| Photographer Credit: Geoff Ridder

Subaru’s Ben Hunt celebrated his birthday in sideways style today, finishing runner-up in the International Rally of Whangarei. 

He and co-driver Tony Rawstorn bought the Subaru WRX STI home in 2hours:30mins:11secs after two huge days on the roads around Whangarei where they completed 20 special stages, including two short 1.2km night stages on Friday. 

For the freshly-turned 34-year-old Hunt, it felt like redemption after he was unable to finish the second day of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) in Otago last month. 

“It’s good fun to go rallying on your birthday! Tony and I have had a couple of awesome days’ rallying. It’s been heaps of fun and the Subaru went fantastically,” he says. 

As the attrition mounted up on Saturday, Hunt kept a cool head finishing the four stages – which were repeated in the afternoon – within the top four cars, to sit in second place. Then today he stepped up his pace a notch to win the final stage and claim second overall behind Hayden Paddon. 

 “Yesterday’s stages were quite twisty and technical with a little bit of fast stuff.  Today was more flat out, with a lot of cambre and grip,” Hunt says. 

He was proud to drive a production-based Subaru that anyone can drive off a showroom floor, before it was converted into a rally-ready car.

“That’s the coolest thing. Some of my rivals’ AP4 and R5 cars are world-class and to be able to achieve what we do in this Subaru – thanks to the Hunt Motorsport team – which built a production WRX STI into a rally car, is so rewarding. That we can battle right up there with Josh [Marston], Raana [Hooran, who finished third] and Hayden [Paddon] is amazing,” Hunt wraps up. 

The NZRC moves to South Canterbury for round three in late June. 

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