After a frustrating first day (Saturday) of Rally NZ, the second round of the NZ Historic Rally Championship, Hamilton’s Gary Smith bagged a second and a third placing over the 2 days of the event, consolidating his points in the championship.

The very first stage of the event saw an issue arise with the gear selectors, and it wasn’t until the end of the third stage his team were able to change the gearbox. Smith estimates about a minute of stage time was lost over the three stages, and the replacement gearbox took more that the allowed 30 minutes service to change, resulting in a further minute penalty.

Overnight on Saturday a second replacement gearbox was fitted courtesy of NZRC series sponsor Neil Allport Motorsport, and Sundays stages near Raglan saw Smith better rival Rob Wylie’s Nissan 240RS on each stage.

The day wasn’t with out its problems as Smith’s Caltex Avalon / Te Rapa sponsored BDG Ford Escort RS1800 managed to hit the same bank on each of the two runs through the famous Whaanga Coast Road stage.

Despite being second overall for the weekend to the fast charging Group B Mazda RX7 of Christchurch’s Marcus Van Klink at Rally NZ, Smith now lies 3rd in the points.

Going into this weekend’s Trust House Racetech Rally Wairarapa he is only 24 behind Klink, and 2 behind Wylie in second, while son and co-driver Troy is second in the Historic co-drivers points’ race.

This weekend also sees the Malcolm Stewart Memorial Classic event, the second part of a two round Classic Challenge series with the Dunlop Otago Classic Rally, and of those competing here, Smith is second just 2 points behind Wylie. Should Van Klink win here, with Smith 2nd, they will be tied first equal jointly on points.

Smith said in the lead-up to this weekend “If I was younger I’d definitely have a go at Klinky’s times, but I’ll just take it a bit easy and see how it all pans out for us.”

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