Christchurch’s Marcus van Klink has topped an intense two-wheel drive battle at the second round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the ENEOS International Rally of Whangarei.
After his impressive victory at the opening round of the series, Rally Otago, van Klink expected a fiercer fight at Whangarei and that was exactly what he got, ending the opening loop of stages in fourth place amongst his two-wheel drive rivals.
A charge through the afternoon that saw them top the time sheets in each of the four special stages left van Klink and co-driver Dave Neill sitting second overnight, just 2.2 seconds away from the lead.
It was on the day’s second stage that van Klink made a decisive move with a time almost 20 seconds faster than any of his rivals to hit the lead, then moving away across the day. By the end of Sunday’s eight stages, van Klink had battled hard to bring the Universal Plumbing Triple-rotor Mazda RX-8 home 32.5 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.
“That was a tough weekend, we ultimately got the result we wanted but man did we have to work for it. We expected more competition up north, especially from Jonesy (Anthony Jones) and he certainly gave us that,” said van Klink. “I’d almost say we drove better this weekend than at Otago. It’s not always been a kind event to us in the past, so it was really rewarding to come out on top.”
A second round win sees van Klink open a 17 point lead in the overall two-wheel drive championship fight and also sits fifth in the overall championship standings.
The Klink Rallysport team now look forward to their home round of the national championship, Lone Star Rally Canterbury, on June 2.