Queenstown’s Mike Sheehan has one hand on the championship trophy in the front-wheel drive class of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship after a maximum score at the Dayle ITM Goldrush Rally Coromandel held over the weekend.
Having seen his lead reduced to nothing at the previous rounds, Sheehan knew he needed to increase his pace and made improvements to both the Truck Moves Ford Fiesta R2 as well as his driving with training from mentor David Holder.
Sheehan and co-driver Glenn Goldring made a good set of pace notes on the pre-event reconnaissance and were ready for a fight, but were forced to change their plan when they saw rival Robbie Stokes stopped only 300 metres into the opening stage.
From there, Sheehan was focussed on making the finish and also trying several new things with the car and himself, finding a more comfortable level on the tight and twisty roads than 12 months earlier on his north island debut.
Outside of a puncture in special stage two and a new tyre compound that was too soft for the hard-packed Coromandel roads, Sheehan enjoyed a trouble-free run and came home to take not only victory, but full points on the power stage as well.
“Obviously it would’ve been great to battle with Robbie but at the end of the day we had an awesome day out and I’m stoked with how far we’ve come in the last 12 months,” said Sheehan. “The notes are just working so much better for me now and I really found a level of enjoyment from the roads that wasn’t there last year. Outside of the puncture, our first in two years, it was a near perfect day out.”
The Sheehans Motorsport team now prepare themselves for the final round of the NZRC, Rally Waitomo, on October 19.