The annual favourite event will be held on both public and forestry roads in the Grey and Westland Districts with servicing based at the Kumara Sports Ground in Kumara.
Heading into the finale, Dylan Thomson/Richard Fairhall (Ford Fiesta ST150 2.3) hold a narrow 11-point lead over Caleb MacDonald/Kerran Graeve (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) with Josh Marston/Andrew Graves (Holden Barina AP4) eight-points further back.
Marston has missed the last two rounds, however, with the best results from five of the six events in the series counting towards the overall title, the Cantabrian has a chance of beating home the other two to take out the title.
Thomson will be disadvantaged with competing in a two-wheel drive car against the quicker four-wheel-drive machines of both MacDonald and Marston.
However, the former holds the lead due to consistent results across the season while others have faltered.
The seven separate Class titles for both driver and co-drivers will be decided on the best four results from the six rounds making up the championship.
RDL Performance, Brita Safety, Palmside NZ and Winmax Brakes have put up cash prizes for each Class winner at the end of the Mainland Rally Championship season. $500, $250 and $100 for first, second and third respectively for each class as well as trophies for all classes and overall, for both driver and co- driver.
While it has been a neck-and-neck race over the season in Class A (2WD 0-1300cc), Mike Matheson (Toyota Vitz) has scored the maximum of 80-points from his best four rounds while rival Pat Norris (Toyota Yaris) will fall short, even if he comes home first on Saturday having won the opening round and finished second to Matheson in the following rounds.
While Jonty Brenssell has won the last two Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc) rounds and sits fourth in class, the title will be decided between Kerry Sloan (Toyota Starlet) who has a seven-point lead over David Birkett (Toyota Levin) with Dean Schoder (Toyota Trueno) in third.
Dylan Thomson holds an unbeatable lead back to Deane Buist (Toyota Corolla AE86) in Class C (2WD >1601cc).
Caleb MacDonald’s win at the Nelson Rally saw him take over the lead in Class D (4WD). However, with the return of Josh Marston who is just 10-points adrift, MacDonald will need to win and have Marston finish third or lower in class to secure the title.
Hayden Shakespeare (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 3) has tentatively secured the Class E (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD) title with rival Mike Barltrop (Subaru Impreza) not having entered the final round. Shakespeare has contended all events so far winning the class in three and finishing second in the other two rounds.
It’s close in the Historic Class F with Tim McIver (Ford Escort Mk2) reducing Ally Mackay’s (Ford Escort Mk1) lead to just 10-points after the Nelson Rally. If McIver wins in Westland, he will take out the class title while if Mackay wins and McIver is second, they will be tied on points with the counting of the best four rounds of the season. This may then come down to the Series Co-ordinator either deciding on the winner or declaring a tie.
Tom Milliken’s (Subaru H6) has secured the Class H (Subaru H6) title at the Nelson Rally with unassailable points lead over James Macdonald (Subaru H6). Neither have entered the event while Nick Marston (Subaru H6) makes a return to the Class.
First car gets underway from the Recreation Hotel in Greymouth at 9:00am returning at approximately 16:15 after completing 110km of Special Stages and 180km of Touring Stages.