Rally drivers take on Rankleburn

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Carter Strang in action in his Mitsubishi EVO 6. Photo: Euan Cameron Photography

THE Rankleburn Rally in West Otago takes place on Saturday.

Organised by the Eastern Southland Car Club, the rally consists of four special stages starting with a competitor briefing at 10am.

Based at Telford Tops Rd, Rankleburn Forest, West Otago, about one hour from Gore and 35 minutes from Balclutha, it will be signposted from State Highway 1.

Top local driver Carter Strang, of Wallacetown, said he enjoyed the event, having finished in the top three twice before.

He rates Rankleburn as a challenge.

“There are endless corners and some slippery bits. You can be running on a dry road and the next thing you are on a clay track. You have to keep your brain ticking.”

Amy Keighley, of Auckland, will travel south for the event.

Keighley’s first season of rallying was in the 2018 NZ Rally Championship where she finished third in the Category 2 FIA 2-wheel drive class.

She will lease a Jeff Judd-prepared Subaru Impreza H6 for the event, a normally aspirated four-wheel-drive car, her first outing in a four-wheel-drive machine.

Malcolm Read will co-drive for Tony Gosling as one of New Zealand’s busiest rally co-drivers.

He recently completed five events in six weeks with five drivers in different parts of the world, but is excited to take on Rankleburn as it is an event he had never done.

“I like to take the chance to do everything I can in New Zealand. It is nice to do one at home.”

Nigel King, of Rakahouka in Southland, last drove at the 2001 Catlins Coast Rally, but on Saturday will make his rallying return 18 years on at the age of 47.

King has been sharing a Toyota Starlet in sprints and hill climbs with son Brayden during the past couple of years.

Brayden has also done three rallies in the car but when he said he would not do Rankleburn, Nigel decided to bring the car out and “get it dirty”.

Jordyn White, the son of Nigel’s regular co-driver from years ago Andrew Whyte, will be the co-driver at Rankleburn.

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