NZRC: Chris West Rally of Whangarei preview

WEST KEEN TO BUILD ON GOOD START Leading New Zealand rally driver Chris West travels to Whangarei this weekend looking for a solid result to build on his championship standing in the Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship.

WEST KEEN TO BUILD ON GOOD START

Leading New Zealand rally driver Chris West travels to Whangarei this weekend looking for a solid result to build on his championship standing in the Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship. The International Rally Of Whangarei is Round 3 of the championship while it is also the third round of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Christchurch based West, New Zealand Rally Champion in 2004, arrives in Whangarei placed third in the New Zealand Championship after an impressive beginning to the season. Westy and co-driver Chris Cobham of Palmerston North dominated the opening rally of the season in Otago only to miss out on maximum points after smashing a rim within sight of the finish. At Round two, the International Rally of NZ, despite front diff problems on the second day of the World Championship event, West powered his Andrew Simms Mitsubishi EVO 9 to a podium finish in Group N and 15th place overall.

"It was nice to get back behind the wheel," said West shortly after a brief test run before leaving his Christchurch base to travel north. "The Andrew Simms Mitsubishi Rally Team have addressed small issues we encountered in Rally New Zealand and are looking forward to Whangarei where I have had plenty of experience and success. This round is a vital part of the championship. We're looking for a solid result to build towards the NZ Gold Star Championship. Our recent test shows we are moving forward. We are talking small improvements on what we already have."

An eight week break in the championship since the Rally Of New Zealand in May could not have come at a better time for Westy. He and partner Mel have welcomed their second son, Oakley Christopher West who was born on 16th June. Oakley is the couples second son, the younger brother of Carter who is now aged 3.

The International Rally Of Whangarei will commence on Saturday morning at 8.00am when the first car departs from Whangarei's Quayside Town Basin. The first car is due to return just prior to 5.00pm that afternoon. The following morning the cars again depart from the Town Basin, this time at 7.00am before returning at 3.30pm. The total rally distance is 756 kilometres with sixteen Special Stages making up a total of 285.26 kilometres of competitive mileage on gravel. Prior to Saturday and Sundays action the drivers participate in an autograph session at the Cameron Street Mall on Friday from 3.30pm. Soon afterwards the ceremonial start will take place at the mall.

Westy is a past winner of the Rally Of Whangarei, taking victory in the far north in 2008.

Support for Chris West in the Vantage Aluminium Joinery 2010 NZ Rally Championship comes from Andrew Simms Mitsubishi, the New Zealand Herald, Castrol, The Mad Butcher, Donnithorne Simms Mitsubishi and Adamson & Holland Ltd.

-source: chris west

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