Eric Clark of Invercargill arrives at the Catlins Coast Rally this Saturday sitting second in Class E of the MRF Tyres Mainland Rally Series.
Clark, a regular in his Subaru Legacy RS with partner Catriona Flynn his co-driver, are the only local team chasing the full Mainland Series which covers the major South Island rallies this year. Clark has had a great run in the Legacy that he has campaigned since 2007, consistently finishing in the top three or four in his class at each event.
Clark has finished every rally to date and admits that was the goal at the beginning of the season. He is currently second in the class, just 11 points behind Phil Collins of Nelson in an Audi Quattro with Flynn just 9 points off the class co-driver lead. Collins will not be competing at Catlins but with competitors required to drop their two worst results for the season that decision may not affect his campaign. Clark says, “it has been really good. We have had a good battle with Phil and our goal at Catlins is to finish as well as we can again.”
Clark started rallying in 2005 with a Subaru Leone, primarily as a good learning car. Since acquiring the Legacy it has been very reliable. “There have not been too many dramas.” A highlight was the Lawrence Rally last year where he and Flynn started 32nd and brought the car home a fine 13th. Motorsport is something Clark gravitated to rather than being brought up around it. He used to watch the likes of Possum Bourne, Colin McRae and Richard Burns on television therefore it is no coincidence that he has been in a Subaru since he started competing.
After Catlins there is one more round of the series and then Clark intends to compete at the Ashley Forest Rallysprint while also using that event to repay his sponsors, Road Safety Southland, About Joinery, Strang Automotive and AB Equipment by giving them the opportunity to sit in the co-drivers seat during runs on the iconic course.
The Catlins Coast Rally will begin adjacent to Owaka Motors in Campbell Street, Owaka, at 10am on Saturday 11 August with competitors facing six high speed Special Stages over a total of 150 kilometres before the event concludes in Owaka at 3.44pm. The rally is Round 6 of the MRF Tyres Mainland Rally Championship and part of the Eastern Southland Car Club Rally Championship.