Auckland Rally driver Mark Tapper will get his first taste of international rallying on foreign soil when he starts this weekends Rallye New Caledonia.
The 25-year-old Auckland rally driver is aiming for a podium finish in the event, which is a round of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship but is realistic about the challenge in front of him. “This will be the first time I have competed outside of New Zealand, so it’s going to take a while to learn the roads and conditions. There is strong competition from the likes of Katsuhiko Taguchi a past APRC champion and local expert Jean Louis Leyraud who started rallying before I was even born.”
Mark will be partnered by Christchurch based co-driver Jeff Judd and will contest the event in the left hand drive Rally Drive NZ Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8, which he took to victory in the recent Possum Bourne Memorial Rally based around Pukekohe.
“Dale Perry from Rally Drive NZ has provided the car for the event, and we have also received great support from New Caledonian rally driver Patrick Christian. The support of Dale and Patrick has made this whole trip possible and I must say a big thank you to both for their efforts, along with PDL shipping who have transported the car and equipment to New Caledonia.”
“I am really looking forward to the challenge of the event, and the international competition makes it even more exciting. Our number one aim is to finish the event and gain experience, if we can get onto the podium on our first attempt at the event it will repay the support of the people who have made this possible.”