Young Auckland-based rally driver James Holder nearly made it back-to-back wins in Saturdays Parker-ENZED Rally of Hamilton.
Holder, partnered up with co-driver Richard Ellis, looked set to build upon an impressive result in the recent Rally of
Waitomo where he finished 1st in class and 11th overall after starting near the back of the field.
Seeded 47th, the 22-year-old duo quickly showed they’re no one-win wonders moving straight into 23rd
overall and 1st in class after the first stage. "Our strategy was to come out hard and fast," said Holder. "Being
the first time we’d competed in a New Zealand Rally Championship round we wanted to see if we could match it with the
national rally drivers. To do this we knew we’d have to push hard from the start."
And push they did. By the end of the sixth stage Holder’s Toyota Corolla was the 4th 2-wheel drive on
the road, moving past several of the national rally competitors. "We were stoked," commented Holder. "This is the car I drive
to work everyday! On such a tight budget and with only one set of tyres, keeping up with the national guys who have full sponsorship
Sadly Holder’s luck was to end on the ninth stage. With only three stages to go and looking set to win his class
for the double, his car left the road forcing an early retirement. "We came round a fast left-hand corner and the back just
stepped out, sending us into a ditch. There was only minor damage and the car was driveable, but we were stuck good and proper."
Despite obvious disappointment Holder was pleased with his teams efforts. "This weekend has proved to us that we can keep
up with the national guys. I just hope we get the opportunity to do it all again next season. Thankfully Manukau Auto &
Tyre Centre help us out with free wheel alignments, but to remain competitive we need to get more people on board to support
Holder’s next event is the final round of the Top-half rally series on the 9th of October in Paihia.