Chris West primed for action in Rally NZ
Timaru driver Chris West is looking forward to starting Rally New Zealand in the midst of a hectic week of preparations.
For West it is the big one of the year as he mixes it with some the best drivers in the world, as it doubles as World Rally Championship (WRC) round and could potentially be the last WRC event in New Zealand for some time as economic pressures come to bear.
West and co-driver Chris Cobham, of Palmerston North, will contest the three-day event in their Mitsubishi Evo 9.
Reconnaissance of the route has taken up the first three days of the week and today West and Cobham will take part in a shakedown at Kaukapakapa near Auckland.
Friday will be the first of three days of rally action, and the longest day, with the eight special stages consisting of 209.6 kilometres of high speed competition in the Raglan and Te Akau region.
West said tomorrow will be the most important in respect of the overall event. "We are looking for a result and there is no reason why it can't be a good one.
"The roads are in really good condition although the weather is not favourable at the moment. However, the forecast suggests it is shaping up to be a reasonably good weekend."
Pace is one thing that has not been a problem for West this season, but luck has deserted him several times.
The 2004 national champion has been running hot at every round of the New Zealand championship. However, he finished second overall in the Rally of Otago.
"`I'm looking forward to the weekend," West said.
" While we haven't achieved all the results that we have wanted I am still enjoying myself. The key ingredient is being competitive – that is more important than anything."
Also helping West is the fact he has rallied on most of the roads.
"The roads are very familiar, aside from those that we use on Sunday, which haven't been used since the 1990s. We know the others from the past and they are fantastic."
West's Evo has also had a reasonably extensive rebuild since the Rally of Otago, which he is hoping will also help him in the tough competition.
- © Fairfax NZ News