Full sprint field in action for seasonal shakedown

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 27/02/2013
Shingle sprintsRallying returns: Malcolm Lovett will  be tackling the Mackenzie’s  ‘Hillblock’ in his Mitsubishi Starion.
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RALLYING RETURNS: Malcolm Lovett will be tackling the Mackenzie’s ‘Hillblock’ in his Mitsubishi Starion.

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Shingle sprints return to the Mackenzie on Saturday and such is the popularity of the terrain the event is already full.

A joint venture between the Mackenzie and Ashburton car clubs, the ‘Hillblock' had its 45 confirmed entries early.

Mackenzie Car Club's Dave Brien said the 10.5km section of shingle road would hold its own on any national or international rally stages.

"Many drivers are using it as a shakedown before the rally season starts."

A feature of the event will be the appearance of former production world rally champion Hayden Paddon.

Brien said Paddon would start No 1 on the road but would be driving a classic BDA Escort rather than his Mitsubishi Evo.

"In addition Hayden has done pace notes that are available to everyone which is great."

Brien said it was a great way for beginners to have a go using pace notes.

A decent array of vehicles will be competing, including group A and B Mazdas, a Nissan 240RS, Ford Capri V8, several BDA Escorts and a selection of Mitsubishi Evos.

The event on Saturday will be signposted from Fairlie and is only 3km down the Fairlie-Geraldine Highway.

Stage one includes several water crossings and a 1km straight where the radar gun should clock speeds of close to 200kmh.

Brien said spectators should get there early for the 9.30am start.

"A gold coin donation gets you a programme and access to an all-day courtesy coach that will deliver you to some brilliant vantage points."

The pit area will also have plenty of activity with a tyre challenge winner taking away $1000 in prizes, a best presented spectator vehicle as well as the action on the big screen.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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