Tauranga’s Phil Campbell has vowed to come back bigger and better after a frustrating second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the International Rally of Whangarei.
Campbell headed to the event confident that the car was in top shape, but struggled in the early running, unsure why the speed that had bought him second place in last year’s championship now saw him sitting outside the top ten.
The afternoon loop saw an increase in speed to be inside the top ten, but again not where Campbell wanted to be in eighth place overall.
After discussions with the team, a decision to soften the suspension of The Roofing Store Mitsubishi overnight paid dividends, with Campbell and co-driver Ventia Fabbro’s stage times immediately improving into the top five. There were nervous moments for the pair though, with a leaking head gasket as they moved into fourth position before the final service.
Things took a turn for the worse in the afternoon when the rear differential began to fail after the final service and despite his best efforts to limp the car back to the finish, the differential would finally fail, leaving Campbell stranded only a stage and a half from home.
“It was certainly a pretty tough weekend. We tried all sorts of things with diff maps to try and find some extra speed to no avail. We don’t have a heap of experience in changing the suspension up, so it was a bit of a learning curve. The speed on Sunday morning was where we wanted it,” said Campbell. “At the end of the day, the results were certainly not what we wanted, but I’m confident with the feeling of the car now heading to Christchurch.
The Campbell Rally Sport team now turn their attention to Rally Canterbury on June 4-5, where they will aim to repeat last year’s podium finish.