The current leader of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, Matt Summerfield, is a late entry for Saturday’s Catlins Coast Rally.
Summerfield of Rangiora will drive his Group A Subaru Legacy in the event rather than the Subaru Impreza he uses in the National Championship. “It has all happened thanks to Tony Gosling from Stadium Cars,” said Summerfield after his entry was confirmed. “We were ‘umming and ahhing’ and Tony was kind enough to offer to help us out. We are pretty grateful to him. Both Tony and I will be driving Legacy’s. I am planning to have fun. It is good to do heaps of kilometres. We are slowly making the Legacy more like our National Championship car but we are looking forward to a good day out skidding. Our chief mechanic will be co-driving for me so that will be good as well.”
Summerfield has competed at Catlins several times before including in the treacherous conditions when many of the stages were affected by snow and ice last year not long after he had acquired the Legacy. Summerfield was one of many who fell foul of the conditions that day. “It was good last year until I fell off the road,” he laughs. “Hopefully there will be no snow this year. We have made some subtle changes to the car but it is pretty much the same car as last year.”
While this will be an outing designed to be fun, Summerfield is “pretty happy” to be leading the National Championship at the halfway point after winning in Whangarei and Canterbury after gearbox issues cost him dearly in the opening round in Otago. “We have gotten over our hard luck at Otago. Leading the championship is pretty massive for us. We are focused squarely on the rest of the championship.”
However before the championship resumes in the Coromandel later this month spectators at the Catlins Coast Rally will have the opportunity to witness the talents of the current leader of the NZ Rally Championship first hand this weekend.
The 2017 Catlins Coast Rally is Round 5 of the Stadium Finance Mainland Rally Championship and also a points round for the ESCC Rally Championship Trophy.
The event is scheduled to depart from Owaka Motors in Campbell Street, Owaka at 10am on 12 August. The rally will be based in Owaka this year with servicing of the rally cars taking place in the township between stages. Six Special Stages await competitors before the rally finishes in Owaka at approximately 3.44pm.