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Mon, 21 May 2018 - Rally de Portugal – Day Three Report
Hyundai Motorsport has claimed its second win of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) after a masterful performance by Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul
The result marks Hyundai Motorsport’s first-ever triumph in Rally de Portugal and the ninth WRC win in total for the team
Having fought for his third gravel podium of the season, Dani Sordo finished fifth after being handed a ten-second penalty for an infringement earlier in the weekend.

Matosinhos, Portugal

May 20, 2018 – Hyundai Motorsport has taken a dominant victory in this weekend’s Rally de Portugal, the sixth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), with Thierry Neuville and co-driver Nicolas Gilsoul winning by a margin of 40 seconds over M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans.

In a rally of attrition, with many competitors experiencing issues, Neuville’s level-headed and measured performance earned him an eighth WRC career win and his second of the year so far. It is the ninth in total for Hyundai Motorsport as the team retains the lead of the manufacturers’ championship.

Dani Sordo finished in fifth position having fought valiantly for a third gravel podium of the season. Along with co-driver Carlos del Barrio, the Spaniard was handed a ten-second penalty overnight for an apparent infringement of regulations during Friday evening’s Porto Street Stage. The resultant time loss saw him fall out of the top-three before the first of Sunday’s five stages had even started.

A total of 51.53km was contested on the final day with two runs through the 8.64km Montim stage and legendary 11.18km Fafe test with its impressive jump. A solitary attempt at the slightly longer 11.89km Luilhas route split the repeated stages with most crews adopting a cautious approach.

Andreas Mikkelsen, who had re-joined under Rally 2 on Saturday after technical issues forced him to stop on Friday afternoon, continued to fight to the finish. The Norwegian and compatriot co-driver Anders Jæger picked up valuable points for the team’s championship efforts.

There was no holding back in the Power Stage; Sordo sent a strong message with the third fastest time to pick up three driver points. Neuville added four more for second place to complete a near-perfect weekend for the Belgian crew.

Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead the manufacturers’ table on 175 points but with a slightly reduced advantage over M-Sport Ford (162). Neuville’s result sees him jump to the top of the drivers’ table on 119 points ahead of Sébastien Ogier, who did not score this weekend, on 100.

WRC Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Second victory of 2018 sees Belgian move to top of drivers’ championship
Five stage wins this weekend, the most of any WRC pairing, and four Power Stage points

Neuville said: “What a weekend and what a result! We have taken a clever approach to this event, pushing when we could and controlling the pace when we needed. The car has been fabulous all weekend long, and the team has been behind us every stage of the way. I have felt completely comfortable and at ease despite some challenging conditions. My teammates have also been on the pace but were unlucky not to be on the podium. We tried to give it a bit of a push in the Power Stage, to take as many points as we could, but also taking care not to make any mistakes. We have a lot of Portuguese people in the team, so it’s going to be a nice celebration. A fantastic weekend for our team.”

WRC Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#16 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Stage win in SS4 and strong performances all weekend
Time penalty dropped crew out of podium contention despite spirited fight-back on Sunday

Sordo said: “I am disappointed not to finish on the podium after what had been a very promising and competitive weekend for us. We showed our pace in many stages and were definitely in the fight. The time penalty was frustrating but we put that out of our mind and concentrated on doing the best job we could on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, we had an issue during the penultimate stage when a stone went through our front splitter and smashed the windscreen. This made some corners difficult to see in the Power Stage but we gave it absolutely everything. There are so many fans here and lots of people supporting me, so I was happy to put on a good performance through Fafe. Congratulations to Thierry and Nicolas on a great win, and thanks to the team.”

WRC Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Power steering and engine oil pressure loss on Friday hampered progress
Battled through final two days to secure important manufacturer points

Mikkelsen said: “That was not the weekend we had hoped to have but it’s been a positive final morning The car was working much better in the Power Stage, which allowed us to really give it a push. I’d like to send big thanks to the team who put in a huge effort to adapt the car to get it better suited to my style. I have enjoyed driving this weekend and without our issues on Friday, and the knock-on effects of that, I am sure we could have had a much more representative result. Congratulations to Thierry and Nicolas on their victory, which is thoroughly deserved for them and the entire team. I am looking forward to Sardinia.”

Back to winning ways

Team’s ninth WRC victory in total and first-ever at Rally de Portugal
Strength of Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC demonstrated with most team stage wins (seven)

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “It has been a very competitive weekend for our team and I am delighted to take our first Rally de Portugal victory. Thierry and Nicolas, in particular, have put in a classy performance on all days. They have had a clean drive with excellent pace that has allowed them to control things from beginning to end. They kept their calm this morning and knew just how much they could give on the Power Stage. Dani and Carlos deserve to be commended on a strong weekend and on maintaining a good rhythm throughout the event. Andreas and Anders, too, battled on from their Friday issues and we did all we could to help them to the end of the rally. In the circumstances they put in an impressive run in the Power Stage and only just missed out on an extra point. We continue to lead the championship, which remains very close, and Thierry moves to the top of the drivers’ table. Sardinia will be a very difficult event, but we will be ready.”


Next rally: off to Sardinia

The run of four consecutive gravel events continues with Rally Italia Sardegna, round 7 of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), from 7-10 June
Hyundai Motorsport memorably won the event back in 2016 with Thierry Neuville, while also scoring podiums in 2015 (2nd Paddon, 3rd Neuville) and 2017 (3rd Neuville)
Mon, 21 May 2018 - Holder and Farmer survive rock-strewn Rally Portugal to take third in JWRC

Kiwi rally driver Dave Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer have taken their first podium finish in the 2018 FIA Junior World Rally Championship at Rally Portugal, one of the toughest events they’ve tackled to date. To finish Rally Portugal was an achievement in itself – only 46 of the original 85 entrants completed the rally.

To finish on the podium in the JWRC category was even better, exceeding Holder’s goal of a top five result. Holder and Farmer, from Mt Maunganui and Hamilton respectively, were also making their debut on the rock-strewn Portuguese event, which is the third round of their first international rally campaign.

Holder says: “We’re really stoked to finish the rally third in JWRC. We came here with a target of top five, so this is a really good result for us. An incredibly tough event for everybody. Of the 14 JWRC crews, I think only one car managed to come through unscathed without some sort of drama. We had our own issues, including the rollover and broken driveshaft yesterday, and we battled through them to get to the end. That’s what mattered and to get third was great.”

When the event got underway on Thursday evening (CEST) with a 3.36km super special stage on Lousada rallycross circuit near Porto in the north of Portugal, the pair were 12th equal among the 14 JWRC crews.

Friday’s itinerary took them toward the Spanish border for three repeated stages. As the rocky roads took their toll on competitors at all levels, Holder and Farmer kept their car on the road with stage times that saw them improve steadily on the class standings to finish the day fifth.

Holder said the rally certainly lived up to its rough nature, having bent the steering rack somewhere on the first stage. “Then we lost a little time on the second stage with a puncture, but we were able to drive out on it. The third stage of the morning wasn’t too bad, nice and clean but you’re constantly having to dodge rocks, and I mean rocks the size of your head! The second pass was unbelievably rough, these big rocks just come out of nowhere. We spent a lot of time trying to dodge them so the speed wasn’t real fast but we got the car home safe and consolidated ourselves in fifth position.”

On Saturday Holder and Farmer tackled six stages totalling 154.64km, improving to fourth place in their class by day’s end despite some major issues. They rolled on the first run through SS12 in the morning, and on the repeated run through the same 37.60km stage, had a driveshaft on their Ford Fiesta break.

“The rollover happened coming down to a tight, almost hairpin left. I clipped the corner a bit early – it was marked by a tyre and under the tyre was a tree stump – the car rolled onto its roof. We both managed to get out okay then found a spectator, so the three of us pushed it over – which isn’t that easy! We got the car going again, managed to finish the stage and got back to service. The M-Sport boys did an incredible job fixing it within the time period allowed for service without any penalties.

“We went back out in the afternoon, actually in third overall. Our plan was just to get to the end of the rally as we had a comfortable gap to fourth but unfortunately then we did the drive shaft. But not all was lost – we were able to re-join for Sunday under Rally2 regulations, which meant 10 minutes added to our time, to put us back in fourth.”

With five stages to complete on Sunday, the aim was simply to get to the finish and that’s what the pair managed to do.

“Today [Sunday] was pretty uneventful really, just holding position to make sure we got home to get that trophy. We did have one of our good friends Irishman Callum Devine strike some issues that helped us with the podium position in the end – not the way we normally want it to happen.

“We want to thank everyone at home and all our supporters for helping make this podium result possible and hopefully it’s the first one of many more to come. We’re jumping on a plane back to New Zealand tomorrow and have to work hard for the next four weeks to make the next event in Finland possible.”

Holder and Farmer are the first New Zealanders to enter the JWRC, the entry-level WRC category, an important first step in their bid to create a full-time WRC career.

The JWRC comprises five events – Sweden, Corsica, Portugal, Finland and Turkey.

Holder acknowledges the continued support of HWR Group, Mt Wheel Alignment, Chicane Racewear, Magnum Compliance, Farmline Machinery, Mt Bikes, KPMG Tauranga, Cooney Lees Morgan, Bell Booth, Thurlow Building & Construction, Monit Rally Computers and Amplified Customs.

Mon, 21 May 2018 - Last minute twist gifts Targa Hawkes Bay win to Kirk-Burnnand and Hay

In a third and final day of high drama Auckland pair Steve Kirk-Burnnand and co-driver Mike Hay (BMW 318ti) were gifted the win in the Targa Hawke’s Bay tarmac motor rally which finished in Havelock North on Sunday afternoon.

Heading into the final 37.34km Argyle Rd/Raukawa Rd stage on the way back to Havelock North former Targa New Zealand event winners Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant (Porsche 991 GT3 RS) from Dunedin enjoyed a 3 min 20.7 lead over Kirk-Burnnand and Hay.

Earlier in the event Nic De Waal and Shane Reynolds had set the pace in De Waal’s Subaru Impreza WRX though at the start of the final day their margin over Dippie and Grant Porsche was just 17.5 seconds.

That was halved after today’s first stage, and reduced again as the De Waal Subaru’s engine went off song, and Dippie and Grant assumed a lead it looked like they would never lose in the third stage.

For their part Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay brought both speed and consistency to the event and though they only won one stage outright they were in the right place at the right time when Dippie ran off the road in the final stage.

To their credit Dippie and Grant still had enough of a time buffer to end up second overall and retain their Class 6 (2WD) lead despite earning a maximum stage time for the final ill-fated run through Argyll and Raukawa Rds

Dippie and Grant were not the only high profile pair to end their event off the road either. Earlier in the day top local pair Ivan Knauf and Trevor Corbin (Subaru Impreza WRX) crashed out of fourth place on the very first stage from Waimarama back to Havelock North, while later on Tauranga pair Simon and Sita Clark (BMW M3) lost what looked like a sure spot in the top six with a similar car-bending off in the fourth stage.

One of the pre-event favourites, Mitsubishi Evo 9 pair Jason Gill and Duncan Robinson from Auckland didn’t even make it that far, their event ending with a roll on Saturday.

In fact the make-up of the final top ten bore little resemblance to that at the end of the first and second days.

Though he was out of overall contention after various mechanical issues on the first and second days of the event, Targa event stalwart Clark Proctor and co-driver Sue O’Neill ended up winning most of today’s stages in Proctor’s Nissan R35 GT-R.

Because they had lost so much time on the first two days they were never in overall contention (eventually finishing 37th outright) but Proctor was the quickest through the last five stages to tie with Dippie and Grant for the second highest number of stage wins behind De Waal.

Third overall after one of their best – and definitely most consistently quick – Targa events were Perth-based expat Robert Darrington and his co-driver David Abetz in Darrington’s supercharged BMW M3. Fourth was Targa event returnee Mike Tubbs and co-driver Mike Vincent, both from Hamilton, the pair enjoying an almost perfect debut run in Tubbs’ new BMW M2.

With the demise of the Gill/Robinson Mitsubishi Evo 9 on Saturday, and both the De Waal/Reynolds and Knauf/Corbin Subarus today, Auckland pair David Rogers and Aidan Kelly were first 4WD entrants home (and Class 10 winners) in fifth place in Rogers’ Mitsubishi Evo 10, two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the Class 9 (Production 4WD) winning Subaru Impreza WRX of Christchurch ace Rory Callaway who had his Dad Stewart reading the notes.

Arguably the best drive from a Targa event rookie came from Auckland Toyota dealer Haydn McKenzie who with mate Matthew Sayers on co-driver duty finished seventh overall and won Class 4 on debut in McKenzie’s Toyota 86.

Finally, in true Targa spirit Classic class stalwarts Mark and his father Chris Kirk-Burnnand from Wellington didn’t let a broken throttle cable slow their BMW ME30 M3 down for long today.

Class rivals Mark McCaughan and Lindsay Lyons (Mercedes 190e 2.3-16) were able to catch and briefly take the class lead while Mark and Chris used a jury-rigged cable until they could replace it at the lunchtime service at Waipukurau.

Once the throttle cable was re-fixed though normal service resumed with the Kirk-Burnnands re-taking the class lead and ending up tenth overall.

Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, HW Richardson Group, Invercargill Licensing Trust, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt, and Writeraze

Sun, 20 May 2018 - Dave Holder battles on in Portugal JWRC

Kiwis Dave Holder and Jason Farmer managed to get to the end of a very tough six-stage day on Saturday (CEST) in Portugal to hold fourth place among the seven of the 14 Junior World Rally Championship competitors still running.

It wasn’t an easy day for the pair, who rolled on the first run through SS12 during morning, and on the repeated run through the same 37.60km stage, had a driveshaft on their Ford Fiesta break.

Speaking from a tow truck taking them and the damaged car back to the service park in Porto, Holder says: “On last stage of today we did a driveshaft about 2 km from the end. Pretty unfortunate, but it’s a hard rally on these cars, so you can expect a bit of attrition.

“Earlier in the day we had a bit more drama, same stage first pass through in the morning, we actually rolled coming down to a tight, almost hairpin left. I clipped the corner a bit early where there was a tyre and under the tyre was a tree stump. We rolled onto our roof, got out okay and managed to find a spectator, so the three of us pushed it over. Then we got the car going again, managed to the stage and got back to service. The M-Sport boys did an incredible job fixing it within the time period allowed for service without any penalties.

“We went back out in the afternoon, actually in third overall. Our the plan was just to get to the end of the rally as we had a comfortable gap to fourth but unfortunately then we did the drive shaft. But not all is lost – we can re-join tomorrow under Rally2 regulations and even though we get 10 minutes added to our time, that puts us back in fourth. If anyone else has some problems tomorrow and hey, Portugal can throw something up, maybe we’ll back on the podium. “It’s been a bit of a tough event so far, but we’re learning lots and we’re looking forward to getting out there again tomorrow.”

The rally concludes on Sunday with five special stages.

Sun, 20 May 2018 - Rally de Portugal – Day Two Report
Hyundai Motorsport continues to lead Rally de Portugal, the sixth round of the WRC season, after a positive penultimate day for the team
Thierry Neuville increased his advantage over M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans from 17.7 to 39.8-seconds with particularly impressive runs through the long Amarante stages
Dani Sordo holds onto a provisional podium in third place, but with only 4.7-seconds separating the Spaniard from fourth placed Teemu Suninen.

Matosinhos, Portugal

May 19, 2018 – Hyundai Motorsport has strengthened its grip on Rally de Portugal, round six of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with Thierry Neuville holding a 39.8-second lead of the gravel event with five stages remaining.

Dani Sordo, in the #16 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC, retains a provisional podium position in third but with Finns Teemu Suninen (M-Sport Ford) and Esapekka Lappi (Toyota Gazoo Racing) keeping the pressure on.

Following his technical woes on Friday afternoon, Andreas Mikkelsen was able to re-join under Rally 2 on Saturday morning, and completed the day without further incident. The team had made adjustments to the engine in an effort to make it through the day’s six stages safely, as the Norwegian chases important manufacturer points.

Saturday’s itinerary comprised a repeat loop of three demanding stages of increasing length. Starting with the 17.50km Vieira do Minho test, the schedule moved onto the 22.22km Cabeceiras de Basto before tackling the longest stage of the rally, Amarante (37.60km).

Weather conditions remained warm and mostly dry throughout the day, although isolated afternoon rain showers created damp patches on the repeat loop. Like on Friday, tyre selection was an important factor for the second pass.

Having scored a total of six stage wins on Friday, Hyundai Motorsport added a seventh to its tally on Saturday, with Neuville topping the timesheets in SS12 (Amarante 1). Another composed and confident run for the Belgian crew in SS15 helped them end the day with a healthy gap at the head of the classification but with all still to play for on Sunday.

WRC Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Stage win in SS12 (Amarante 1) represented Belgian crew’s fifth of the weekend
39.8-second advantage over Elfyn Evans heading into final day
Neuville said: “We have had a very positive day and can be extremely satisfied with our position. That’s not to say we can relax because we have some tricky stages on Sunday, including the two runs through Fafe. Our focus today was to extend our lead overall but we knew we had to be clever with our strategy on both loops. We had to save the tyres in some places to maximise the performance on the longer Amarante stages. We knew we could make the difference here; it’s a stage I really enjoy and we could give it a really big push. There were a few wet patches at the end of the afternoon, but we made it through and could increase our margin. We will need to remain concentrated because there are still five stages to go – and we’ve seen just what can happen here.”

WRC Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#16 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Spaniards continue to hold provisional podium
Fending off close challenge from hard charging Finns Teemu Suninen and Esapekka Lappi
Sordo said: “In general, I am pleased with our day and to be in the battle for the podium. The gap to the guys behind is close so we need to keep pushing. The only downside to today’s running was the final stage, the repeat of Amarante, which started with a half-spin. I don’t know what happened; something felt a bit strange and I lost the rear, but we kept our focus. We quickly built up our confidence again and worked on reducing the time loss. The crowds at this rally have been incredible and it really gives us the motivation to fight for the podium on Sunday morning. That’s our target!”

WRC Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Knock-on effects from Friday’s technical issue prevented crew from fighting at the front
Trouble-free day has kept them in the hunt for manufacturer points on Sunday
Mikkelsen said: “First of all, I am very grateful to the team for their efforts in getting us back into the rally after the problems we experienced on Friday. We had to make some adjustments to the engine settings for today to help us make it through. As a result we didn’t have access to full power, which limited what we could do. We simply had to do our best with what we had at our disposal and I think in that regard it has been a pretty good day. It is important for us to finish the rally cleanly in order to secure manufacturer points for the team, even if we are not at the level we know we could be. We always want to compete at the front and I hope we can fight for some Power Stage points tomorrow.”

On a mission

Five top-two stage times on Saturday including a seventh stage win of the weekend
Team is hoping to improve on its previous best result in Portugal, a 2-3 double podium in 2017
Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “We find ourselves in quite good shape at the end of another tough day of competition in Portugal. Thierry and Nicolas have put in a measured performance to increase their lead to almost 40 seconds. This is nothing to get carried away with but it does allow some important margin on the final day. Dani and Carlos have also continued to show strong pace. Apart from their small half-spin on the final stage, it has been a trouble-free day for them. The battle for the final podium place is really heating up. We had to make some modifications to the engine on the car of Andreas and Anders to allow them to compete – and complete – today’s stages. This left them slightly down on power but they did the necessary job as they chase important points. I expect tomorrow will be another challenging day, but we are closer than ever before to securing our first-ever Portugal win.”

Sunday at a glance

Five stages remain in Rally de Portugal over a total distance of 51.53km
Short but challenging tests await the crews on the final day, including two runs through the 8.64km Montim, a single attempt at the 11.89km Luilhas and twice tackling the legendary Fafe stage with its iconic jump.
Classification after Day Two


1
T. Neuville
N. Gilsoul
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
3:16:30.0

2
E. Evans
D. Barritt
Ford Fiesta WRC
+39.8

3
D. Sordo
C. del Barrio
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
+57.2

4
T. Suninen
M. Markkula
Ford Fiesta WRC
+1:01.9

5
E. Lappi
J. Ferm
Toyota Yaris WRC
+1:13.0

6
M. Østberg
T. Eriksen
Citroën C3 WRC
+3:14.1

7
C. Breen
S. Martin
Citroën C3 WRC
+4:53.1
Sat, 19 May 2018 - Battle royal as De Waal and Dippie trade stage wins in Targa Hawkes Bay

There was a battle royal at the top of the leader board on Targa Hawke’s Bay’s second day today as early event pace-setter Nick De Waal and co-driver Shane Reynolds (Subaru Impreza WX STi) traded stage wins with Martin Dippie and his co-driver Jona Grant in Dippie’s late model Porsche GT3 RS.

There were never more than a few seconds between the two very different cars (De Waal’s Subaru a four-wheel-drive four-cylinder four-door sedan, Dippie’s Porsche a two-wheel-drive six-cylinder two-door coupe) and after six stage comprising just over 157kms today Dippie was just 17.5 seconds behind when the field arrived back at Havelock North for a second night.

Auckland pair Steve Kirk-Burnnand and co-driver Mike Hay continued to punch well above their weight in Kirk-Burnnand’s BMW 318ti in third place overall, however they were just over two minutes behind the flying De Waal.

“It’s a big dice, that’s for sure,” said De Waal at the lunch break. "It started yesterday and it is still going on today, and - you know - there is really nothing in it, a second or two here and a second or two there, so it is definitely still full on.”

De Waal was again quickest through the first stage today, the 35.95km Crownthorpe one west of Napier, with Dippie just four seconds back in second and Jason Gill and co-driver Mark Robinson in Gill’s Mitsubishi Evo 9 third.

It was Dippie who won the second stage though, his margin through the shorter, 31km Glengarry six seconds – this time over Gill and Robinson with top local pairing Ivan Knauf and Trevor Corbin third quickest in their Subaru Impreza WRX third, and De Waal and Reynolds fifth.

The event leaders were back on top as the field repeated the 35km Crownthorpe stage though this time Dippie was just 3.3 seconds back in second with Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay pipping Knauf and Corbin for third.

Gill and Robinson were in the mix early on until an event-ending rollover. This was also the stage that saw Targa regular Clark Proctor and co-driver Sue O’Neill exit the event with gear selection issues with Proctor’s Nissan R35 GT-R.

The cat-and-mouse battle up front continued into the afternoon, Dippie this time winning the ultra-short (8.32 km) Tuki Tuki stage east of Havelock North by just 1.3 seconds from De Waal and Reynolds with Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay again third just six seconds back.

De Waal and Dippie then each won one more stage apiece before the final run into Havelock North for the night, with De Waal and Reynolds retaining their overall and class 10 lead with a 17.5 second buffer on second placed Dippie and Grant (who lead class 6) and a two minute lead over third placed class 7 leaders Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay.

Fourth overall, and leading class 9 are the first of the local pairings, Hawke’s Bay dairy farmer Ivan Knauf and co-driver Trevor Corbin.

After another productive day two of the three other members of the extended Kirk-Burnnand family competing in the event, Mark and father Chris Kirk-Burnnand from Wellington, not only retained their lead in the popular Classic class (class 2) they moved up to 11th place in the overall event standings, their E30 model BMW M3 now just 10 seconds away from a spot in the top ten.

There were no shortage of takers, in fact, for the spots at the pointy end of the field vacated by Gill and Proctor.

Looking very impressive in their quick but very different BMW M-series cars were New Zealand Targa event regulars Rob Darrington and David Abetz from Perth, Tauranga pair Simon and Sita Clark in Clark’s latest M3 and Targa event returnee Mike Tubbs and co-driver Mike Vincent from Hamilton in Tubbs’ new M2 model.

The trio ended up fifth, sixth and seventh respectively in the overall standings ahead of the giant-killing Mazda-engined Toyota Starlet of Orewa brothers Tom and Ben Grooten, and the production-spec Subaru Impreza WRX of Rory and father Stewart Callaway.

Rounding out the top ten after the first two days of three, meanwhile, was the Mitsubishi Evo 10 of Auckland pair David Rogers and Aidan Kelly.

Tomorrow (Sunday’s) route sees competitors head south into the Central Hawkes Bay and Tararua Districts before a ceremonial finish back in Havelock North.

All-up there are 19 closed road special stages covering a total 459.95 km linked by 730km touring stages .

Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, HW Richardson Group, Invercargill Licensing Trust, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt, and Writeraze.

Sat, 19 May 2018 - Subaru hold early lead in Hawke's Bay Targa Rally

Subaru Impreza WRX pair Nick De Waal and co-driver Shane Reynolds hold an early lead in this year’s three-day Targa Hawke’s Bay after a dominant first day which saw them win four of the six stages between Taupo and Havelock North.

Arriving in the Hawke’s Bay town this evening the pair had a 21.9 second lead over the second-placed Porsche GT3 RS of Martin Dippie and co-driver Jona Grant from Dunedin and a 46.1 second buffer over third placed Steven Kirk-Burnnand and his co-driver Mike Hay in Kirk-Burnnand’s BMW 318ti.

Kirk-Burnnand and Hay were one of only two pairings to take a stage win off fellow Aucklanders De Waal and Reynolds, the BMW dynamic BMW duo quicker through the first of the two marathon (39.92km) stages over the long, fast, Gentle Annie road from Taihape to Hawke’s Bay.

The other stage winners were Christchurch pair Rory and his father Stewart Callaway in their Subaru WRX.

They won the first stage of the day, the 11.6km Waiouru sprint south-west of the central North Island army town, before slowly slipping down the leader board and ending up listed as a retirement after the fourth (Taihape West) stage but coming back to finish the day in a still respectable 13th place overall.

The best performance by a local (Hawke’s Bay) pairing, meanwhile came from local dairy farmer Ivan Knauf and his co-driver Trevor Corbin (Subaru WRX) who are sixth overall after the first day.

This year’s expanded, three-day Targa Hawke’s Bay event has attracted a 50-strong entry of competing cars and a similar number in the allied but non-competitive Targa Tour.

Targa NZ events traditionally attract a wide array of competing vehicles with this year’s Hawke’s Bay one no exception.

As well as holding the overall lead Nick De Waal and Shane Reynolds lead the Allcomers class, from the Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Jason Gill and co-driver Duncan McKenzie who are fourth overall.

Second placed Martin Dippie and Jona Grant lead Class 6, third placed Steven Kirk-Burnnand and Mike Hay Class 7 and fifth placed Clark Proctor and co-driver Sue O’Neill lead Class 9 in Proctor’s Nissan R35 GT-R.

A little further down the order (14th) Mark and father Chris Kirk-Burnnand from Wellington are the top placed pair in the Classic 2WD class (Class 2) in their E30 model BMW M3. Other vehicles entered include a much-modified Land Rover-based Bowler Tomcat off-roader and a 1950s Chevrolet Bel Air utility.

Tomorrow (Saturday’s) route is similar to last year’s (with three stages north-west of Hastings in the morning and three south of Havelock North in the afternoon) and again incorporates a stand-alone Rally of Hawke’s Bay event-within-and-event orgnaised in conjunction with the local car club.

Sunday, meanwhile, sees competitors head south into the Central Hawkes Bay and Tararua Districts before a ceremonial finish back in Havelock North. All-up there are 19 closed road special stages covering a total 459.95 km linked by 730km touring stages .

Targa New Zealand events are organised by the Ultimate Rally Group with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Global Security, HW Richardson Group, Invercargill Licensing Trust, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Race4Life Trust, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt, and Writeraze.

Sat, 19 May 2018 - Rally de Portugal – Day One Report
Hyundai Motorsport leads Rally de Portugal at the end of the first complete day of action, with most WRC competitors enduring issues throughout Friday’s stages
Thierry Neuville holds a 17.7-second advantage over Elfyn Evans with Dani Sordo in third overall after a dramatic day on the Portuguese gravel stages
Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon both retired after mid-stage incidents. It remains to be seen if they can re-join under Rally 2 on Saturday.

Matosinhos, Portugal

May 18, 2018 – Hyundai Motorsport holds the provisional lead of Rally de Portugal, round six of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC), after an incident-filled and dramatic day on the gruelling gravel stages.

Friday’s itinerary covered eight special stages including a repeated loop of Viana do Castelo (SS2/5), Caminha (SS3/6) and Ponte de Lima (SS4/7). Two runs through the Porto Street Stage concluded the running. It was a day of highs and lows for most crews with notable retirements up and down the order, coupled with a particularly tricky tyre choice on the second pass.

Wins and losses

Thierry Neuville scored four stage wins during the afternoon to build an advantage of 17.7-seconds over M-Sport Ford’s Elfyn Evans. Dani Sordo led the rally during the morning loop, taking a stage win himself (SS4), but fell to third overall by the end of the day just 6.6-seconds behind Evans.

Despite showing competitive pace and promise, it was a less than fortunate end to the day for Andreas Mikkelsen and Hayden Paddon. Mikkelsen suffered a power steering issue in SS6 (Caminha 2) before being forced to stop in the subsequent SS7 (Ponte de Lima 2) with a loss of engine oil pressure.

Paddon, in his first WRC event since Sweden, held an early lead after scoring a stage win in SS2 (Viana do Castelo), and took charge again after SS6. However, a crash in the opening kilometres of SS7 saw the Kiwi driver and his co-driver Seb Marshall forced to retire for the day.

Both members of the crew were able to exit the vehicle on their own accord, but Paddon was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after experiencing lower back pain. A decision will be taken overnight to determine if he can continue his participation in the rally. The team will make further announcements about Paddon’s condition via its Twitter account (@hmsgofficial).

WRC Crew Notes: Neuville/Gilsoul (#5 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Four stage wins helped the Belgian crew take control on a day of high attrition
Confident performance on Porto Street Stage helped increase lead to 17.7-seconds

Neuville said: “All in all, I am pretty happy with my day. We have made improvements to the car from one stage to the next, and we have been able to stay out of trouble. The afternoon loop proved decisive with a complicated tyre selection. We opted for six soft tyres, which - in hindsight - was perhaps not the best choice, but we were clever and made it work quite well in the end. Despite incredibly rough conditions, we felt comfortable and pushed as hard as possible. We took four stage wins in a row, and the performances in the Street Stage allowed us to build a decent lead. However, it’s still very early days in this rally, and we’ve seen today that we absolutely cannot be complacent.”

WRC Crew Notes: Sordo/Del Barrio (#16 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Stage win in SS4 saw Spaniards head up a Hyundai Motorsport 1-2
Soft tyre choice hampered afternoon progress but crew retained provisional podium

Sordo said: “It has been a very tough day, so I am pleased to be inside the top-three overall and still in the close podium hunt. There is still a long way to go, but it has already been a rally with many incidents. We started the morning loop carefully but built up confidence in the first run through Ponte de Lima to win the stage. For the afternoon, we opted to run soft tyres, which in the end was not the ideal choice. The stages were rougher than expected and we had high wear which prevented us from pushing. We managed the situation reasonably well and had two good runs during the Porto Street Stage to end the day positively. I hope for a smoother Saturday!”

WRC Crew Notes: Mikkelsen/Jæger (#4 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Continuous improvements during the morning helped Norwegians move up the order
Loss of engine oil pressure forced the crew to retire in SS7

Mikkelsen said: “A day of two halves for us, unfortunately. The morning went reasonably and I felt like we were getting more comfortable with each stage. The car felt good and I was encouraged for the afternoon loop. In SS6, the second run through Caminha, we lost the power steering midway through and had to battle hard to make it to the end of the stage. We tried to fix the problem with the remote support of the team. Although we couldn’t manage to find a solution, we were still able to start SS7. Towards the end of the stage, the engine started to feel strange and I noticed oil on the windscreen, so we had no choice but to stop the car. The team will now assess the car to see if we are able to rejoin under Rally 2 on Saturday. I am very disappointed as we were going well and the car was perfect.”

WRC Crew Notes: Paddon/Marshall (#6 Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC)

Immediately on the pace in SS2 with stage win to take early lead
Regained first place during afternoon loop but crashed in SS7 while avoiding a rock

Paddon said: “The day was going well, we were driving within ourselves and to our plan. It was a difficult day for everyone and hard to get the tyre choice right but it was, of course, good to be back on the pace right away. Near the start of SS7 there was a big rock on the inside of the corner, which was concealed. I had to steer out a little for the corner to avoid it, but then the speed was too great and the car ran wide. The problem then was a big culvert on the exit of the corner, which stopped the car instantly. I’m gutted for the team as a good result was possible but for a third year in a row, this stage bites us.”

Provisional podium and performance potential

Six stage wins and three 1-2s showed potential of Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC
Two Hyundai Shell Mobis World Rally Team crews involved in close podium battle

Team Principal Michel Nandan commented: “It has been a long time since we have seen a day of the World Rally Championship as unpredictable, tough and incident-filled as that. Firstly, we hope to hear the confirmation that Hayden is completely fine after his accident. He had shown impressive pace today but got caught out by a hidden rock in SS7 that ended the rally for him and Seb immediately. They were able to get out of the car on their own but Hayden had some back pain which needed a precautionary check-up at the hospital. We have to wait and understand his condition before we can make any decision about Saturday. For Andreas, two related technical issues forced him to retire from the rally. A power steering issue in SS6 was followed by a loss of engine oil pressure in SS7. We have to evaluate the extent of the damage to understand if he can continue on Saturday. In more positive news, Thierry has had a strong day and leads the rally with Dani in third. If today is a benchmark for the rest of the weekend, these positions mean nothing because we have many demanding stages still to tackle here in Portugal.”

Saturday at a glance

Six stages set to run on Saturday over a competitive distance of 154.64km
Vieira do Minho, Cabeceiras de Basto and Amarante will each be run twice with a lunchtime service splitting the two loops
Recent Results
PosDriverTotal 
1New ZealandSteven Kirk-Burnnand3:32:07.0
2New ZealandMartin Dippie+1:33.2
3New ZealandRobert Darrington+3:53.8
4New ZealandMike Tubbs+5:33.0
5New ZealandDavid Rogers+6:28.0
6New ZealandRory Callaway+9:11.7
7New ZealandHayden McKenzie+11:25.8
8New ZealandGraeme Wong+11:52.3
9New ZealandJeremy Friar+12:40.4
10New ZealandMark Kirk-Burnnand+13:04.1
11New ZealandMark McCaughan+13:25.3
12New ZealandRichard Gillies+13:56.5
13New ZealandAndrew Oakley+14:29.3
14New ZealandRick Martin+14:48.4
15New ZealandCarl Kirk-Burnnand+16:06.5
16New ZealandJoe Kouwenhoven+16:16.3
17New ZealandRichard Ramson+16:47.7
18New ZealandBrian Green+16:54.0
19New ZealandGraeme Drummond+19:41.4
20New ZealandEddie Grooten+21:20.3
21New ZealandJohn Thomson+22:28.9
22New ZealandChris Lewis+23:28.6
23New ZealandIain Atkinson+24:40.4
24New ZealandGary Murphy+27:13.1
25New ZealandLinden Bawden+29:15.1
26New ZealandChris Hawkes+30:25.3
27New ZealandMike Lowe+30:37.6
28New ZealandGeoff Harriman+38:06.4
29New ZealandSimon Van Tuyl+38:39.1
30New ZealandRick Finucane+41:29.0
31New ZealandDonald Webster+54:47.9
32New ZealandMike Donald+59:28.1
33New ZealandGlen Raymond+1:10:46.1
PosDriverTotal 
1BelgiumThierry Neuville3:49:46.6
2United KingdomElfyn Evans+40.0
3FinlandTeemu Suninen+53.7
4SpainDani Sordo+1:00.9
5FinlandEsapekka Lappi+1:04.7
6NorwayMads Ostberg+3:39.9
7IrelandCraig Breen+5:23.0
8SwedenPontus Tidemand+14:10.8
9PolandLukasz Pieniazek+16:17.3
10FranceStephane Lefebvre+16:34.3
11FrancePierre-Louis Loubet+17:21.3
12JapanHiroki Arai+19:42.4
13FinlandJuuso Nordgren+19:51.9
14PortugalArmindo Araujo+22:35.3
15MexicoBenito Guerra+23:15.3
16NorwayAndreas Mikkelsen+24:44.4
17PortugalMiguel Barbosa+24:56.0
18United KingdomGus Greensmith+25:45.4
19SpainNil Solans Baldo+27:24.5
20ChilePedro Heller+28:56.4
21FranceSebastien Ogier+35:28.3
22SwedenDennis Radstrom+37:04.6
23PortugalDiogo Salvi+46:53.1
24TurkeyMurat Bostanci+47:08.4
25FinlandJari Huttunen+48:40.9
26JapanTakamoto Katsuta+49:36.0
27FinlandMax Vatanen+58:50.2
28ItalyEnrico Oldrati+59:28.3
29ItalyFabio Andolfi+59:37.4
30SwedenEmil Bergkvist+1:01:15.5
31RomaniaSimone Tempestini+1:06:35.0
32PortugalAlfredo Barros+1:10:05.6
33ItalyLuca Bottarelli+1:10:32.0
34New ZealandDavid Holder+1:12:21.9
35TurkeyBugra Banaz+1:15:25.0
36NetherlandsKees Burger+1:21:49.5
37United KingdomTom Williams+1:23:34.7
38PortugalJose Barbosa+1:27:31.2
39PortugalFrancisco Teixeira+1:34:09.8
40ItalyUmberto Accornero+1:37:13.0
41GermanyJulius Tannert+1:40:47.3
42PortugalRicardo Marques+21:38:14.8
PosDriverTotal 
1New ZealandHayden Paddon2:45:04.4
2New ZealandBen Hunt+7:26.3
3AustraliaNathan Quinn+8:30.9
4New ZealandEmma Gilmour+9:05.1
5New ZealandDylan Turner+9:44.0
6New ZealandJosh Marston+12:39.4
7New CaledoniaEugene Creugnet+17:25.2
8New ZealandRegan Ross+17:46.6
9New ZealandDavid Holder+18:17.4
10New ZealandMarcus van Klink+18:38.8
11JapanYuya Sumiyama+19:28.2
12New ZealandAnthony Jones+20:44.9
13New ZealandDylan Thomson+20:45.2
14ItalyFabio Frisiero+21:17.4
15New ZealandTony Gosling+21:33.9
16New ZealandMatt Summerfield+21:48.8
17New ZealandJohn Silcock+22:42.5
18New ZealandDave Strong+22:51.2
19New ZealandBrian Green+22:58.3
20New ZealandRhys Gardner+24:09.0
21New ZealandWayne Pittams+26:08.4
22New ZealandJack Williamson+28:47.2
23New ZealandDavid Taylor+35:36.0
24New ZealandGeoff Warren+40:17.4
25New ZealandDaniel Alexander+48:25.1
26New ZealandRaana Horan+48:52.9
27New ZealandAmy Keighley+54:51.1
28JapanKimito Kondo+1:02:08.8
29New ZealandBruce Herbert+20:37.5
Coming Soon
8 days to go
2018 Points
PosNamePoints
1BelgiumThierry Neuville119
2FranceSébastien Ogier100
3EstoniaOtt Tänak72
4SpainDani Sordo58
5FinlandEsapekka Lappi57
6NorwayAndreas Mikkelsen54
7United KingdomElfyn Evans45
8United KingdomKris Meeke43
9FinlandJari-Matti Latvala31
10IrelandCraig Breen26
11NorwayMads Ostberg16
12FranceSébastien Loeb15
13New ZealandHayden Paddon10
14FranceBryan Bouffier4
15Czech RepublicJan Kopecký1
PosNamePoints
1Scott McLaughlin1487
2Shane Van Gisbergen1356
3Craig Lowndes1188
4David Reynolds1169
5Jamie Whincup1123
6Scott Pye1114
7Fabian Coulthard1079
8Rick Kelly1003
9James Courtney996
10Tim Slade992
11Chaz Mostert986
12Nick Percat892
13Mark Winterbottom890
14Garth Tander861
15Michael Caruso826
16Will Davison787
17Cameron Waters730
18Anton de Pasquale680
19Lee Holdsworth540
20Simona De Silvesta489
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandHayden Paddon88
2New ZealandBen Hunt70
3New ZealandEmma Gilmour43
3New ZealandMatt Summerfield43
5New ZealandJosh Marston38
6New ZealandRegan Ross32
7New ZealandDylan Thomson27
7New ZealandNathan Quinn27
7New ZealandJohn Silcock27
10New ZealandDave Strong25
11New ZealandGraham Featherstone24
12New ZealandRaana Horan22
13New ZealandWayne Pittams19
13New ZealandDylan Turner19
15New ZealandDavid Taylor15
15New ZealandJack Williamson15
17New ZealandTony Gosling14
18New ZealandAmy Keighley11
19New ZealandAndy Martin10
19New ZealandRhys Gardner10
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandMatt Summerfield60
2New ZealandJosh Marston44
3New ZealandJeff Judd39
4New ZealandRegan Ross36
5New ZealandMarcus Van Klink35
6New ZealandDavid Quantock32
7New ZealandDeane Buist29
8New ZealandDarren Galbraith28
9New ZealandJohn Silcock27
10New ZealandSean Haggerty22
10New ZealandGraham Ferguson22
12New ZealandDylan Cameron21
13New ZealandBrad Harris20
14New ZealandRichard Bateman18
15New ZealandJohn Giltrap14
16New ZealandDavid Gee13
17New ZealandDylan Thomson12
17New ZealandMike Sheehan12
19New ZealandStewart Thorp11
19New ZealandPhil Collins11
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandGrant Blackberry32
2New ZealandWarwick Redfern27
3New ZealandDylan Thomson23
4New ZealandAnthony Jones20
5New ZealandWayne Pittams18
6New ZealandAlex Gilmour16
7New ZealandPaul Fraser14
8New ZealandMatt Adams13
9New ZealandAmy Keighley12
10New ZealandDaniel Alexander11
11New ZealandBrynley Smith1
11New ZealandClinton Cunningham1
11New ZealandSteve Cox1
PosNamePoints
1New ZealandMark Kirk-Burnnand104
1New ZealandMartin Dippie104
3New ZealandMark McCaughan102
3New ZealandSteven Kirk-Burnnand102
5New ZealandMike Tubbs100
6New ZealandClark Proctor98
7New ZealandIvan Knauf94
7New ZealandCarl Kirk-Burnnand94
9New ZealandRory Callaway92
10AustraliaRobert Darrington90
10New ZealandNic De Waal90
12New ZealandRichard Gillies86
12New ZealandEddie Grooten86
12New ZealandHayden McKenzie86
15New ZealandDavid Rogers84
15New ZealandAndrew Oakley84
17New ZealandSimon Clark82
18New ZealandJoe Kouwenhoven81
19New ZealandIain Atkinson80
20New ZealandJeremy Friar79