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This is the single-news section of the news "Offroad & Motorsports". To see all news please use the link under the article or navigate with the left main-navigation.

NZ Silver Fern: Two more international Teams for South Island.

Following on from the announcement that Swedish former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist will compete in this years New Zealand Silver Fern Rally, organisers have received a second entry from the UK based Historic Motorsport Team who will manage Blomqvist during the event.

The Historic Motorsport Team is owned and run by Englishman David Sutton, and the second car, a MKI Ford Escort RS2000, will be driven by Sutton himself. He does not often competitively drive, instead his forte has always been as a team owner, manager and car preparation specialist.

Sutton who has been to New Zealand before, in his management role, is widely recognised in the rallying world as owning the only private team to have won the World Rally Championship, and he's done it twice. The first occasion was with the famous Rothmans Ford Escort driven by Ari Vatanen in 1981, and then again more recently in 2003 with British driver Martin Rowe, who took a Subaru Impreza to the Production Car World Cup. Stig Blomqvist was Sutton's second team driver that year and finished 3rd. When organisers spoke with Sutton, he pointed out that "from a logistics point of view it was going to be just a simple to bring two cars to New Zealand" and he added "it'll give me a chance to have a drive for a change."

Englishman Grant Shand is the latest international entrant, for the seven day Marathon event, which runs round the South Island between October 7th and 14th. However Shand is not bringing a complete car to New Zealand, instead opting to bring with him only his own trusted Ford BDA engine and gearbox, but has plans in place for a local car to fit the parts in to.

When British marathon rally expert Iain Freestone, the first European driver to enter the rally, offered space in his shipping container, Shand jumped at the chance, and has packed his valuable parts in with Freestone's own car.

When the Freestone / Shand container arrives in New Zealand the engine and gearbox will be promptly fitted into a MKII Ford Escort owned by Brent Buist from Christchurch. Interestingly Buist's car is bright blue, the same as Shand's Escort is back home, so he should immediately feel right at home.

All four drivers are looking forward to the event and with around 1400km's of planned high speed special stages the NZ Silver Fern Rally will be the longest event held in New Zealand for over twenty years.

The NZ Silver Fern Rally will start from the Picton waterfront, at midday on Saturday October 7th, before teams compete their way around the South Island with overnight stops in Greymouth, Queenstown, Dunedin and Christchurch before returning via Nelson to the finish in Blenheim. Event organisers would like to acknowledge the assistance of sponsors, Scenic Circle Hotels, Budget Rentals, Team Talk Mobile, Variety and Kea Campers New Zealand.

2006/08/26 | 15:49 CET | Editor: MR/Paul Smith

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