Mike Young made a welcome return to New Zealand roads on Saturday, taking part in the third round of the NZ Rally Championships, the Stadium Finance Rally South Canteebury.
Technical issues early in the event blunted any chances of a podium finish, however in the last loop of stages Young and co-driver Malcolm Read fought their way back to fourth in the Category 1 and 8th overall.
“It wasn’t the quite the start we wanted, but the SAS team worked hard in the first service to fix an engine miss,” commented Mike Young. “Then we had a couple of other small issues on the afternoon loop that lost us time.
“On the final two stages we were back to full speed, set some top 5 times and hauled ourselves back to a reasonable finish. And to finish was great as we’ve now had 160 kilometres of rallying to get to know the car and fine-tune it for the next events”.
To finish was an accomplishment in itself as the event took its toll with over 25 retirements from the 90-car field. The Rally South Canterbury gravel roads are a test of the brave with the cars regularly hitting speeds of over 200kph and with plenty of blind crests, co-drivers have to be very accurate calling the pace notes.
For Young and Read who have rallied together since 2013, it was an opportunity to resume their partnership as their last event together was China Rally 2019 when they won the FIA APRC Asia Cup.
Young plans to do the final two rounds of the 2021 New Zealand Rally Championship, the Hawkes Bay Rally of 24th July and the Coromandel Rally 4th September.