Young heads to Whangarei full of confidence after a successful shakedown of the Toyota Yaris earlier this year at the Rally of Tsumagoi, a snow rally in Japan, where the new Yaris was put through its paces and a podium place achieved. After the event Young said, “I reckon we now have an awesome car, the whole team has put so much time and effort into it. We had a few issues last year with the car but that’s now in the past. The new improvements over the off season were put to the test at the Snow Rally and we finished it without a problem.”
Competition will be tough at Whangarei with high class entries from New Zealand’s WRC driver Hayden Paddon and former New Zealand rally champions Andrew Hawkeswood and David Holder. A podium place is possible and Young is optimistic. “This is my home rally and one I know very well. But we have to be realistic with our approach, we first must finish the rally and that’s the main goal for our team.”
The Eneos International Rally of Whangarei gets underway this Friday evening at the “The Fishhook of Pohe” bridge (Te Matau A Pohe) with an autograph session at 5pm, followed by the official welcome and start ceremony at 6pm. The cars then contest two runs of the adjacent Super Special Stage at the William Fraser Memorial Park from 6:30pm which now features a spectacular jump. Saturday’s eight stages totalling 140 km run to the north of the city and Sunday’s eight stages takes competitors south to Waipu for around 125 competitive kilometres. Finishers then head to the ceremonial finish at the Quayside Town Basin around 3pm on Sunday.