Matt Summerfield and co-driver Nicole Summerfield won the fourth round of the 2022 Mainland Rally Championship (MRC) at Rally South Canterbury on Saturday. A solid and consistent performance brought the pairing to the top, while a high rate of attrition among their rivals now puts Deane Buist (Ford Fiesta) in the overall lead on the MRC scoreboard.
“It was a good day,” commented Matt Summerfield. “We finally had one of those days where we didn’t have drama, so it was quite rewarding.”
The round, held in Levels over nine special stages between Waimate and Timaru International Raceway, was also the third round of the 2022 Brian Green Property Group NZ Rally Championship (NZRC), with Hayden Paddon/Jared Hudson (Hyundai i20N AP4) ahead of Ben Hunt/Tony Rawstorn (Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo) with the Summerfield’s (Mitsubishi Mirage AP4) in third place overall.
Second home in the MRC were Mike Tall/Brent Maddren (Mitsubishi Mirage) in front of Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill (Mazda RX8) with Deane Buist/Karl Celeste (Ford Fiesta) in fourth and James Macdonald/Josh Edwards (Subaru Impreza H6). fifth.
“The day was a great day,” Tall said. “And with a new navigator like my normal Covid has. I was very fortunate to bring Brent (Maddren) on board and things have been going well. The car was flawless; we didn’t do anything about it all day.”
Heading into the MRC Round, Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) was a point clear of Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza) while Buist was eight points behind in third place. The first of the overall contenders to struggle was Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta AP4), who won round two at Rally Otago in April. A mechanical failure in just the second phase dashed his lap hopes.
Marston and co-driver Andrew Graves, who won the opening and third laps, were the next to struggle twice in Waimate Forest Stage 4, having already struggled with a recurring gas problem. They joined a number of other NZRC drivers who also hobbled out of the SS4 with punctures.
Next up was Ray Casey/Jimmy Martin who went off the road in SS5 (Backline Road) and ended his championship hopes.
Buist was expected to finish fourth overall in MRC competition and now has a seven-point lead over two-wheel drive rival Marcus van Klink, while Marston falls to third ahead of Casey, Summerfield and Tall.
Autotech Services, RDL Performance and Brita Safety have established cash prizes for each class winner at the end of the Mainland Rally Championship season. $500, $250 and $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place respectively for each class plus trophies for all classes and overall, driver and passenger. The vehicles are divided into seven different classes according to engine, year of manufacture and two or four-wheel drive.
The Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) continues to lead Pat Norris’ (Toyota Vitz) Jay Ritchie (Toyota Starlet) while William Hawes (Toyota Corolla) is four points clear of Kerry Sloan (Toyota Starlet) who is first to Home was Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc).
Marcus van Klink (Mazda RX8) won the round for Class C (2WD 1601cc and over) which is still led by Deane Buist (Ford Fiesta).
Josh Marston and Ray Casey are now tied in Class D (4WD 1601cc and up) with 42 points each. They are just ahead of Sean Haggarty (Subaru Impreza), John Giltrap (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) and Matt Summerfield.
Eric Clark made his home first in the E Class (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD) run by Nigel Ede (Subaru Legacy). The winner of the Historic Class F&G round was Regan Ross. Overall leader of the class is still Tim McIver (Ford Escort) ahead of Ally MacKay (Ford Escort Mk1) and David Owen (Ford Escort).
Amy Keighly (Subaru H6) leads the H6 class with Nick Marston (Subaru H6) and Tom Mililiken (Subaru H6) in third place. After winning class at the Canterbury Rally two weeks ago, James Macdonald (Subaru H6) came home first in class and moves up to fourth after missing the first two heats.
Whilst a number of drivers and teams will continue to compete in the NZRC, including Rally NZ in late September, the first of the final three rounds of the Mainland Rally Championship will take place in Nelson as part of Targa South Island 2022 in mid-October.
Total points after 4/7 rounds (top 15)
1/ Deane Buist 71
2/ Marcus van Klink64
3/ Josh Marston62
4/Ray Casey 61
5/Matt Summerfield 58
6/ Michael Lang 54
7/ ReganRoss 53
9/Ray Wilson 46
10/ Tim McIver 45
11/ Sean Hagarty 43
12/Jeff Judd 42
14/James McDonald 35
15/ Robbie Stokes 34
Pos Driver Passenger Make Model Class
1/ Matt Summerfield Nicole Summerfield Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 D
2/ Michael Tall Brett Maddren Mitsubishi Mirage D
3/ Marcus van Klink/Dave Neill Mazda RX8 C
4/ Deane Buist/Karl Celeste Ford Fiesta C
5/ James Macdonald/Josh Edwards Subaru Impreza H6 H6
6/ Sean Haggarty/Bella Haggarty Subaru Impreza WRX D
7/ Ray Wilson/Ian McKee Subaru Impreza D
8/ Nick Marston/Peter Calvert Subaru Impreza H6 H6
9/ Paul Cross/Mikko Johnston Subaru Impreza H6 H6
10/ John Giltrap/Sarah Faulkner Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9D
11/ Regan Ross/Katrina Renshaw Ford Escort F
12/ Jeff Judd/Alex Parkin Subaru Impreza H6 H6
13/ Tim McIver/Brent Wilson Ford Escort F
14/ Dave Ollis/Gemma Thomas Subaru WRX Sti D
15/ Brian Green/Fleur Pedersen Mitsubishi Mirage AP4 D
16/ Amy Keighley/Nikita Gibson Subaru Magnum H6 H6
17/ Ally Mackay/Brody Cattermole Ford Escort F
18/ Kerry Sloan/Tim McDonald Toyota Starlet B
19/Eric Clark/Catriona Flynn Subaru WRX E
20/ David Owen/Aiming Machida Ford Escort RS F
21/ Tom Milliken/Chris Cunningham Subaru Impreza H6 H6
22/ Raimon Wilkinson/Ryan Wilkinson Toyota Trueno B
23/ William Hawes/Jason Dwyer Toyota Corolla B
24/ Mike Barltrop/Vahur Ots Subaru WRX E
25/ Tim James/John Mulrennan Mazda RX3 F
26/ Jay Ritchie/Steven Clarke Toyota Starlet A
27/ Pat Norris/Kevin LockeToyota Vitz A
28/ Nigel Ede/Mark Grimmer Subaru Legacy E
29/ Andrew Sim/Brayden Sim BMW 316i C
dnf Robbie Stokes/Amy Stokes Ford Fiesta AP4 D
dnf Josh Marston/Andrew Graves Holden Barina AP4 D
dnf Ray Casey/Jimmy Martin Subaru Impreza D
dnf David Birkett/Jack Birkett Toyota Levin B
dnf Jared Parker/Hamish Sands Toyota Corolla B