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The South Island Endurance Series roars into life again next month; on the back of some very successful seasons, the series has been awarded championship status by MSNZ, which gives competitors even more incentive to chase victory. It is MSNZ’s desire to create a truly national NZ Endurance Championship with rounds in both the North and South Islands from 2015. 

Up north, the NZRC heads to Whitianga this weekend for its penultimate round - the Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel. While Richard and Sara Mason have already bagged another championship, the remaining podium spots are still tightly contested.

19-year-old Lance Williams, of Te Aroha, is one of those competitors in the hunt, sitting in fourth place but only 12 points adrift from second. MotorSport News caught up with this promising young driver this month to see how he rates his debut season. 

Some other exciting dirt events were staged recently, too. The Tauranga Clubman’s Rally was clinched by Phil Campbell in late July, then Balclutha’s Rhys Gardner claimed the iconic Catlin’s Coast Rally earlier this month. Both events sported strong fields – congratulations to the winners and organisers for a thrilling spectacle.

Hayden Paddon continues to improve in the WRC, turning in another solid performance in Rally Finland this month, where he finished eighth overall. Hopefully, there will be a decent Kiwi contingent out to support him and co-driver John Kennard, when the WRC lands in Coff’s Harbour for Rally Australia next month. 

Kiwis keep on impressing in the V8 Supercars, too, with Fabian Coulthard, Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin currently running fifth, sixth and seventh in the series, respectively. A huge congratulations to 19-year-old Andre Heimgartner, who’s been given a wildcard entry to Bathurst 1000 in October. The 2011 and 2012 NZ Formula Ford champion has been performing superbly in the Dunlop Development Series and is gunning to stake his claim on a full-time Supercar drive next season.

Finally, it’s fantastic to see Highlands Motorsport Park announce the Race to the Sky is set to return in April, after an eight-year hiatus. Held in the Cardrona Valley near Wanaka, the 14.5km hill climb, with 135 turns along the ascent, will attract some world-class drivers, including reigning champion and eight-time winner ‘Monster’ Tajima, of Japan.


Shayne Harris

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Kiwis flying across the ditch in V8s Click here for full story

SIERDC series granted championship status Click here for full story

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