Van Klink Heads Classic Challenge Trophy   8 May 2012

As the dust settles from the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally, the attention now turns to the second round of the Classic Challenge Trophy, being contested at the Stadium Cars & Nichibo Otago Classic Rally.

After a stand out performance on the Wairarapa and Tararua roads, Marcus van Klink took the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally by the scruff of the neck and never let go. Leading by over 5 minutes at the end of Day 1, the Group B RX 7 driver continued to power away on Day 2 to end up over 11 minutes clear of second placed Ron Davey.

The battle for the minor money however, was a lot closer.

Initially it was Duncan McCrostie in the Bluebird who had claimed second, but a broken axle allowed Jeff Judd and his Mk 1 Escort to lay claim to that spot. But only just, as Hugh Spence was only 9 seconds away in third.

However the demise on Spence in the very next stage, when he rolled his Mazda 323, let Ron Davey to take up the mantle for third.

While Judd forged ahead to establish a comfortable buffer of 1 and a half minutes to Davey by the end of Day 1, it was Davey fighting with Miles McElwain and Jason Timmins, as both were less than a minute behind in fourth and fifth respectively.

With nothing to stop van Klink, and Judd looking solid in second, the dog fight for third heated up as Davey and McElwain took to swapping stage times and positions. Half way through Day 2 and they were still only 3 seconds apart.

However all was not well in the ranks. McElwain developed a problem and he dropped away from Davey, while the shock was to be in the penultimate stage as Judd lost all power and rolled to a stop.

That left Davey as the defending classic champion from last year to mop up second behind van Klink, showing that reliability and a good pace will win out. McElwain maintained third despite his problems, while another good solid run by Adam Fisher in his Starlet saw him claim a comfortable 4th. Rounding out the top five was Ray Wilson in the iconic Audi Quattro as he improved on last year’s performance.

As the drivers now head south it will be hard to bet against van Klink to take his first Classic Challenge Trophy win. However the fast and tricky Otago roads have proven that they can bite many times before, and it will only take a small slip for Davey to jump up and claim the silverware for a second year in a row. Not to mention that McElwain could easily do the same, especially as he and Davey are well matched for pace.

While Judd will miss Rally Otago, the excitement for the classic field is that Hayden Paddon will be competing in an Escort RS 1800 with stiff competition in the form of former British Rally Champion Gwyndaf Evans, multiple event winner Derek Ayson, and Aussies Geoff Portman and Stewart Reid. All of this making for a stand out finale to the Classic Challenge Trophy

Current Points – 2012 Classic Challenge Trophy

Marcus Van Klink / Dave Neill 32
Ron Davey / Ross Gordon 27
Miles McElwain / Dennis Carson 23
Adam Fisher / Jilly Hutson 20
Ray Wilson / Mike Fletcher 18
Brent Miller / Nicholas Tollemache 16
John Esler / Stu McLean 14
Jeff Judd / Nicole Summerfield 9
Gary Leach / Tony Fitzgerald 9
Duncan McCrostie / Andrew Graves 9
Jason Timms / Dean Astill 9
Chris Alexander / Tania Cresswell 9
Hugh Spence / Donna Elder 9
Roger Goss / Aidan Smith 9
Miles Fowler / Sam Fowler 9
Tony Aimers / Jeremy Aimers 9

Marcus van Klink on his way to the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally win.
Photo Credit, Jody Seabright

(Rally NZ)

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