Christchurch’s Josh Marston and co-driver Andrew Graves have won the Lone Star Rally of Canterbury taking the overall lead in the seven-round 2022 Mainland Rally Championship.
The pairing won six of the seven special stages during Sundays rally in the Okuku and Ashley Forests, Marston task was made easier when last year’s winner, Robbie Stokes, unfortunately retired early in the second special stage with a mechanical problem just after he had won the opening first stage.
Marston said he was “stoked, but it was tough for Robbie (Stokes) to have issues at the start of the second stage”.
“It feels like we were able to push on really well and the car has also been really good”, he said.
Held in cool and dry conditions with fast but very slippery forest gravel roads, the third round of the Mainland Rally Series saw a shakeup of both the overall and Class categories.
With Stoke’s early retirement and a non-start by NZ Rally Championship rival Jack Hawkeswood (Toyota Vitz AP4), it was Matt Summerfield/Nicole Summerfield (Subaru Impreza) time to shine and despite the duo often recording the fastest overall speeds on stages they eventually finished second in front of David and Emma Quantock (Skoda AP4).
Fourth was Deane Buist/Karl Celeste (Ford Fiesta) with John Giltrap/Sarah Faulkner (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9) in fifth. “It’s good to get to the end,” said Summerfield.
“It’s been an enjoyable day with no major dramas, so it’s been good to get some seat time in and at home as well.”
Heading into the rally, the overall Mainland series leader, Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza Sti) held his own for most of the rally before a puncture saw him drop back to seventh overall.
Drivers and teams now have just a fortnight until the fourth round, the Rally of South Canterbury, on Saturday 18 June.