WRC

Rally New Zealand: Natalie Barratt preview

Four-wheel drive return for Natalie in New Zealand In addition to her 2004 Junior World Championship programme, top female rally star Natalie Barratt will contest the 2004 Propecia Rally New Zealand (15-18 April) in a KF Concept backed Gp N...

Four-wheel drive return for Natalie in New Zealand

In addition to her 2004 Junior World Championship programme, top female rally star Natalie Barratt will contest the 2004 Propecia Rally New Zealand (15-18 April) in a KF Concept backed Gp N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII.

Natalie will be co-driven by 31-year old Welshman Carl Williamson, who joined her for the first time on the opening round of the FIA Junior World Championship in Monte Carlo back in January (22-25) in a S1600 MG ZR. With a five month gap until the second round of the JWRC on the Acropolis Rally (3-6 June) Natalie was determined to get back in a rally car as soon as possible and with the help of her principal sponsor KF Concept she will make her third appearance on the Rally of New Zealand. Her Gp N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VIII will be run by Auckland based Reece Jones Rallysport, a rally car hire, rental and leasing company with 20 years experience in both national and international rally championships.

Enjoying a special relationship with Rally New Zealand Natalie considers it one of her favourite events. Her New Zealand debut in 2001 saw her finish 10th Gp N car in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo VI. This was emulated in 2002 when some truly impressive stage times in a Hyundai Accent WRC" saw her secure 21st position overall - her best WRC overall result to date.

The 2004 Propecia Rally New Zealand is the fourth round of the FIA World Rally Championship and takes place on 15-18 April. A real drivers' event, New Zealand boasts some of most skill rewarding, right foot satisfying and picturesque stages experienced anywhere in the World Championship. Fast and flowing smooth gravel roads reel through lush green countryside, ardent forests and awesome coastlines demanding full throttle attack and maximum commitment. Drivers love New Zealand as it captures the real essence of the sport, the smoothness of the stages place few mechanical demands on the cars bringing raw driver talent and bravery to the fore in a setting that demonstrates nature at its very best.

Natalie said: "I'm really looking forward to going back to New Zealand, it's a fantastic rally and it's always been a good event for me. It'll also be a good experience working with a new team. There's such a big gap between the first JWRC round and the second that I really felt the need to get out and do something in between. Also having only done one rally with Carl as my co-driver we really need some quality time in the car together.

"I love this rally; it's one of my favourites. The roads are awesome, the first time I did the New Zealand Rally someone said to me that 'if you don't like the roads in New Zealand then you shouldn't be a rally driver'. When I got there I completely understood what they meant; they're just fantastic!

Reece Jones adds: "I know Natalie is very keen to get back into a four-wheel drive car and Rally New Zealand is the perfect event for her, where she is quietly confident and capable of recording a good finish after her excellent result when she last competed here in 2002."

Carl said: "It's great to have New Zealand as an add-on to our Junior World Championship calendar this year. I've never competed there before so it'll be good experience for me; it's such a fantastic location and a great event to do. It'll also be nice to be able to do the Mille Pistes recce system on an event that's not a crucial round of our championship and experience it before the other Junior competitors do."

-www.nat-u-rally.co.uk

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series WRC
Drivers Natalie Barratt , Carl Williamson
Teams Williams