West Auckland’s Clint Cunningham has undergone major changes behind the scenes ahead of the 2016 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, which gets underway with Rally Otago this week.
After his first season in the Mitsubishi Evo 8 Proto car, which was largely hampered by mechanical problems, Cunningham has teamed up with Possum Bourne Motorsport, who will prepare the RCK Contractors backed car for the season, as well as providing on event support with a head engineer to back up the Clinton Cunningham Rallysport Team.
Also new for the team is a move to Pirelli tyres, a move that Cunningham feels confident with after a couple of test days and a rallysprint where he was happy with his speed early in the day.
One constant within the team is the return of Greg Ruka to the co-drivers seat, something Cunningham is looking forward to after a season apart.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Greg again, it’s great to have a constant within the team and we’ve been doing a lot of work to make sure we hit the ground running,” says Cunningham. “On the flip side, we’ve also made a couple of exciting changes like the Pirelli tyres and moving pre-event preparation to Possum Bourne Motorsport.
“Otago will be tough to start with, we’ve not done a lot of miles down there, so it will be really important to bag points there as opposed to risking it all for a top finish.”
After a ceremonial start in Dunedin’s Octagon on Friday night, Saturday 9 April sees teams head as far north as Oamaru before returning south via the infamous Dansey’s Pass to the traditional tarmac super special in Dunedin to finish the opening day. The following day sees a further nine special stages to the west of Dunedin before the finish, held at the railway station, from 3.25pm.