Rangiora’s Matt Summerfield has shown plenty of speed amongst a tough opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, DriveSouth Rally Otago, culminating in a second fastest time and four bonus points on the power stage.
Summerfield headed to the event as a favourite with a proven package amongst a sea of new cars, as well as having form on his side with a win at the final round of 2015.
After suffering in dust on the opening stage, Summerfield and co-driving sister Nicole would lose all brakes in the second special stage, forcing them to cruise to service after stage three. The day one attack was further blunted when a radiator hose burst off on stage five, costing more than 25 minutes.
With hopes of an outright result dashed, Summerfield focused on day two bonus points as well as the power stage. But a burst turbo hose early on cost more valuable time and any chance of a good result.
Once the Castrol Edge Subaru was restored to full health at service, the pre-season promise made itself apparent and Summerfield immediately set three top three stage times in the remaining six stages, with the remaining three stages inside the top six. Most importantly, second fastest behind WRC star Hayden Paddon earned a potentially crucial four bonus points.
“It’s certainly not the result we were looking for coming to Otago, hopefully we’ve got all our problems out of the way at the first round,” said Summerfield. “Once we got a clear run though, the speed we had was really encouraging. I’m stoked about the power stage result, I love Kuri Bush and it was great to finish on a high note.”