Alister McRae took a popular win in the re-born New Zealand hillclimb in the very car that the late Possum Bourne drove to victory at the same event in 2001.
It wasn’t a straightforward day for the Australian-based Scot, whose ex-WRC-spec Subaru WRX suffered an engine failure on the morning’s first run. Following some swift work from the Possum Bourne Motor Sport team McRae was able to have a trouble-free afternoon run, setting an unbeatable 8m17.616s to claim outright honours.
"To stop on today’s qualifying, well, I’ll not tell you what I said to myself because there’s kids here but obviously I was very, very disappointed," said McRae.
"But then you think, well, hold on, we’ve got a spare engine. The time to change that was very tight, but the Possum Bourne Motor Sport boys did a tremendous job. I know what Possum means to the motorsport community here so to do that in his car, it’s been a great weekend."
McRae’s biggest break of the day came when Nobuhiro 'Monster' Tajima crashed out of the event. The eight-time Race to the Sky winner was favourite to win in his 670 horsepower 'Super 86' hillclimb car, but was sent flying off the road when the car suffered a failure.
Australian Brett Hayward went on to finish second in his self-built open-wheeler, while quad bike rider Ian Ffitch finished third, and won the Possum Bourne Memorial Trophy for being the best-placed New Zealander.