The last Rally New Zealand was a thriller with Jari-Matti Latvala snatching victory for Ford by 2.4s. Latvala was one of four drivers in contention for the win starting the final stage, Whaanga Coast, but when Sebastien Ogier and Petter Solberg both faltered, Latvala was able to pick up the pieces. While Solberg’s crash put him out, Ogier recovered from a spin three corners from home to finish second with Sebastien Loeb third. The world champion had fought back heroically from being more than 1m40s off the lead after striking a bridge on day one to hold the advantage after Sunday’s opening stage. But another uncharacteristic mistake by Loeb on the first run through Whaanga Coast resulted in more time being lost.
Did you know?
Bruce Hodgson and Mike Mitchell are the only Australians to have won Brother Rally New Zealand, claiming victory back in 1971 in a Lotus Cortina. However, the 41-year wait for a second Aussie win will continue with no crews from across the Tasman Sea competing on next week’s rally.
Michelin will supply its Latitude Cross tyre in a hard compound with an option supply of soft compound tyres to be used in the event of cold and damp conditions. DMACK will make available its new closed pattern soft compound DMG+2 for the first time.