Rally goes West

RALLYING
Last updated 05:00 26/05/2014

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Timaru's Chris West will miss the third round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, Rally Canterbury, next weekend as a result of damage sustained in a massive crash at Rally Otago.

West, driving the Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X, headed to the most southern round of the NZRC two weeks ago looking to improve on a disappointing fifth place recorded at round one, Rally Whangarei.

Despite an early morning puncture and brake issues, West sat in fourth place at the first service, fewer than 10 seconds away from second place.

With repairs made, West displayed the form that delivered him the 2004 New Zealand Rally Championship as he charged through the afternoon stages south of Dunedin, pushing to a strong second place by the end of the opening day.

But day two's opening stage resulted in a major low for West and co-driver Chris Cobham when they suffered a high speed crash.

"There's little room for any distraction or error at that speed," West said. "Unfortunately we were wide on the outside of a long right over a crest. It was one of those situations that you more often than not get away with, but we hit a tree stump and rolled four and a half times."

The incident saw the stage stopped and although both West and Cobham received medical attention, the pair were both cleared of any major injuries. Unfortunately the same couldn't be said for the car and with only weeks between events, both West and Cobham will be forced to miss the event that they won last season.

"With the smallest gap between events in the championship calendar between Otago and Canterbury, there was no chance we could make it to the start line of Canterbury in time," West said

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- The Timaru Herald

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