Kaiapoi’s Marcus van Klink has made a near perfect start to his quest for a fourth historic title in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, taking the championship win as well as second outright in the Stadium Cars Otago Classic Rally.
With a particularly fast route set out by the organisers, van Klink and co-driver Dave Neill payed particular attention to their pace notes in pre-event reconnaissance and it paid dividends, combined with an advantageous road position, when the pair were the third fastest NZRC car outright on the opening stage, second in the historic class.
Stage two almost spelt disaster when van Klink spun the Chesters Plumbing Supplies Mazda RX-7, losing some twenty seconds, although holding onto the second historic spot.
For the remainder of the day, van Klink settled into a steady pace, consolidating third in the Otago Classics and second in NZRC historics, just behind good friend and rival Regan Ross.
Despite an engine that was down on power and rapidly declining, van Klink pressed on and when Ross made a mistake on the day’s second stage, van Klink pounced with a stage win, leaping into the lead of the Historic class as well as second in the overall classic rally, behind former WRC star Markko Martin.
A stage win amongst a string of top two times meant van Klink secured his second spot and NZRC round win.
“It was pretty close to the perfect start to the championship for us. We’ve got a bit of work to do to get the engine back to 100% before Whangarei, but other than that the car ran faultlessly,” said van Klink. “It was a great battle with Regan, in the end we both made a mistake, but mine wasn’t as big as his so we took the top points.”
Klink Rallysport now head to Rally Whangarei on April 29-May 1.