Rally proves taxing

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CONDITIONS proved difficult during this year’s Catlins Coast Rally on Saturday as snow in the first stage shook up the order, with the top seeds striking the worst of it.
Andrew Graves and co-driver Jared Leebody, of Gore, were lying in 35th place after the first stage while 73rd seed Scott Paul and Chris Adams, of Milton, were third. Eventual winners Vaughan Edie and Tony Johnston, of Invercargill, were then lying second behind Shaun McMillan and LeRoy Stevenson, of Christchurch.
Graves fought back, winning the last four stages to take second place, 33.9 seconds behind Edie and Johnston.
‘‘The first two stages were diabolical. I have never driven in anything so slippery. We got away with a lot.
‘‘We were scrubbing up against a lot of the scenery. We gave it a good push over the last four, but it wasn’t quite enough,’’ Graves said.
Edie and Johnston secured the Darryl Robinson Memorial Trophy for the win and described it as the highlight of their motorsport career.
‘‘I’m stoked. I never thought we could win it. The conditions definitely helped but we will take it… Some parts were horrible. You just had to get through,’’ Edie said.
Of the 85 competitors lined up for the event, 20 did not finish because of crashes, mechanical problems or technical issues.

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