Dave Holder and Jason Farmer have finished the International Rally of Whangarei, placing second behind former WRC driver, Hayden Paddon, in the Pacific Cup component of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.
It was the pairings second event driving the Greg Murphy owned Holden Barina AP4 supported by Allied Petroleum. However, after a disappointing start at Rally Otago with unfortunate mechanical issues, it was Holder’s first real chance of some mileage this season.
“After our struggles at Otago it was nice to showcase a glimpse of what the car is capable of. The team worked really hard in the short turn around between events (two weeks) to find and solve the reliability issues. We were confident we did a good job of this, so it was nice to get a positive result and have the Allied Petroleum Barina on the podium” says Holder.
Despite Holder’s lack of seat time he was immediately back on the pace, settling comfortably into second position on Saturday’s opening stage, before continuing steadily throughout the day to hold second place overall come the end of day one.
“We were really happy with how we managed our pace on Saturday. It was clear early in the day that tyre management would play an important part in the results. We didn’t make it easy for ourselves though, after accidently breaking the in-car jack we were unable to rotate tyres so drove accordingly to look after them as much as possible. Otherwise aside from a quick side of the road engine drive belt change in four minutes, it was a trouble-free day for us” commented Holder.
Sunday morning and it was more of the same for Holder, settling into the runner up spot on the opening stage. “The character of the day two stages is quite different but still very enjoyable. The roads up here have to be the best in the world, so it’s hard not smile going around some of the corners, despite concentrating.”
The pairing lost a small amount of time in the final afternoon of the event due to a small technical issue.
“On touring out to the stages the dash warning lights suddenly illuminated, and after looking over the car we were able to diagnose the issue as a simple oil pressure sensor failure, before unplugging it and continuing along to start the stage. We soon realized the car ECU didn’t like this and went into limp mode at the very first corner. Fortunately there was a reset button on the steering wheel which would cancel the fault and allow the car to run as per normal, the only problem being I had to hold the button down constantly with my left hand, meaning I couldn’t change gears. So I quickly let Jase know he would need to do the gear changing. To make it even more challenging for him, he was also reading two corners ahead, meaning he would sometimes change gears according to where he was in the notes, i.e. shifting up when I was preferring to go down” laughed Holder.
The team still managed to hold P2 in APRC, but unfortunately dropped to P3 in the overall standings for the event, with the next closet competitor over two and half minutes behind.
“Obviously a massive thank you needs to go to Greg Murphy for trusting us behind the wheel of his car! It’s a massive privilege to showcase the car which is currently for sale and it’s clear there’s plenty of potential for more speed to come” says Holder.
The team now shifts their focus to further overseas exploits, with the intention to return to competition in Europe, alongside preparations for the APRC final in China.