Ben Hunt Takes 2nd in 2018
Ben Hunt Takes 2nd in the 2018 NZ Rally Championship
The 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship season is done and dusted, and it’s been a hugely successful season for Ben Hunt Motorsport. Tony Rawstorn, the team’s co-driver was awarded NZ gold star Champion and placed 1st in the NZRC 4wd Category 1. Ben Hunt finished a clear 2nd in the Overall Drivers Championship and 2nd in NZRC 4wd Category 1. The team were awarded Best Presented Team for 2018.
This season started very strongly, with events in Otago and Whangarei. Two 2nd place overall finishes at the events and 2nd places in power stages put the team in a good position in the championship with a nice points buffer over 3rd place.
The team then faced an unfortunate and very rare mechanical failure at Rally Canterbury. After assessing the situation with the car at service, they decided to retire from the event, coming away with a zero score for the weekend. In the NZ Championship, the rules allow you to drop your worst scoring round before the final event. This meant that they had used their lifeline early on and had opponents gaining on them, but they still held 2nd place overall.
Rally South Canterbury was a new addition to the calendar this year. This turned out to be the fastest event they’ve faced, with an average stage speed of 125kmh. Continuous long running in top gear lead to a part failing on stage 7, causing the car to be side lined for 32 mins while Ben put his mechanical knowledge and abilities to good use with assistance from the team over the phone. After resolving the situation, Ben was able to continue on and fight back hard over the remaining stages. They came away from the event with the Hella drive of the rally for their stage win in the morning.
This year Hunt Motorsport contested two non-championship rounds - Rally Nelson, and Rally of the Far North. Enjoying the chance to head back home to Nelson to defend the rally win from 2017, they had a good run all day and came away with a solid first place. Rally of the Far North wasn’t quite so smooth, the team faced a small set back in the morning but carried on to win 3 out of the 4 afternoon stages to claim the final podium spot.
Carrying on to Rally Coromandel, they had their first power stage win for the season and finished 2nd overall for the event. This gave them the largest amount of points awarded for the weekend, beating all championship rivals.
Rally Raglan was the final event for the 2018 NZ Rally Championship. It was a hard fought day in the sun on some of the most stunning roads NZ has to offer. 2nd placed result capped off a fantastic season.
After pushing hard all season both on the track and in the workshop, Hunt Motorsport finished with a total of 12 stage wins, closing the gap in speed difference on average by 0.8sec per km.