The father and daughter pairing of Sean Haggarty/Bella Haggarty (Subaru WRX) have won the final round of the 2022 Mainland Rally Championship (MRC) taking out a narrow win over Mike Tall/Matt Richards (Mitsubishi Mirage).
The Christchurch One Day Rally also doubled as the first of seven days of the 2022 Silver Fern Rally, with seven Special Stages competed for on roads in the Hurunui District, north of Christchurch.
“I’m absolutely delighted” commented Haggarty. “I’ve done it with my daughter, and what more could you ask for.”
Deane Buist, who sat out the round, has won the overall 2022 title from Haggarty with Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza) third and James Macdonald (Subaru H6) fourth.
Haggarty and Tall battled most of the day with Haggarty leading until the penultimate stage of the day. Tall took a 2.3s lead heading into the final short 5.14km SS7 only for Haggarty to snatch back the lead, winning by 1.2 seconds.
“I drove like an absolute lunatic,” said Haggarty. “I had to go like hell and be on the absolute limit and it paid off.”
His daughter, Bella Haggarty, has sat in the co-driver seat all season, winning the Mainland Series Overall Co-Drivers title ahead of Jimmy Martin and Brent Wilson.
“I’ve got to say, Bella was outstanding today sitting in the co-driver’s seat. She’s only 14 years-old and she never missed a corner. In the end, I’m just her chauffeur so she can gain as much experience as she can this season.”
Initially, Robbie Stokes/Nicole Summerfield (Ford Escort) were also in the battle for the lead until gearbox issues on SS3 brought their day to a halt. While Haggarty and Tall battled out front, it was Ray Casey/Jimmy Martin (Subaru Impreza Sti) that took up third overall beating home James Worker/Campbell Tannock (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6) and Nick Marston/Pete Calvert (Subaru Impreza H6).
David Quantok/Emma Quantok (Skoda Fabia AP4) won three stages but lost time in SS3 with a gearbox issue and finished sixth overall.
With the two worst results dropped, class titles have been decided with Autotech Services, RDL Performance and Brita Safety putting up cash prizes for each class winner at the end of the season.
$500, $250 and $100 for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively for each class as well as trophies for all classes and overall, for both driver and co- driver.
Vehicles are divided up into seven different classes according to engine size, year of manufacturer and two or four-wheel drive.
First home in Class A (2WD 0-1300cc) was Chris Herdman (Toyota Starlet) ahead of Pat Norris while the 2022 title went to Jay Ritchie (Toyota Starlet) and the co-driver award to Kevin Cooke.
While Jack Stokes (Ford Fiesta R2) was first home in Class B (2WD 1301-1600cc), Kerry Sloan (Toyota Starlet) did enough to secure the title ahead of William Hawes (Toyota Starlet) and Jared Parker (Toyota Levin) with the Co-Driver title going to Tim McDonald.
Deane Buist won Class C (2WD 1601cc and over) ahead of Peter Bowden (Ford Escort) and Andrew Sim (BMW 316i), who was first home in the final round. Dave Neill picked up the Co-Driver title.
Haggarty’s win also gave him the Class D (4WD 1601cc and over) title ahead of Ray Casey (Subaru Impreza) and Ray Wilson (Audi Quattro S2) with Balla Haggarty collecting the Co-Drivers title.
Nigel Ede (Subaru Legacy) beat Eric Clark (Subaru STi) in Class E (Pre 1996 Classic 4WD) with Shane McKenzie (Mitsubishi VR4), who was first home in the finale, third overall and Mark Grimmer winning the Co-Drivers title.
The Historic Class F&G title went to Tim McIver (Ford Escort) ahead of Jeff Judd (Ford Escort) and Ally MacKay (Ford Escort) with the Co-Drivers title going to Brent Wilson.
Nick Marston (Subaru H6) was first home in Class H6, finishing second overall to James Macdonald (Subaru H6) with Tom Milliken (Subaru H6) third and the Co-Drivers title going to Pete Calvert.
Haggarty is the sixth-round winner of the MRC season. Josh Marston (Holden Barina AP4) took victory in the opening Westland Rally Sprint and Rally Canterbury (Round 3).
Robbie Stokes (Ford Fiesta AP4) won Round 2 at Rally Otago and Matthew Summerfield (Mitsubishi Mirage AP4) won the South Canterbury Rally (Round 4).
The Nelson One-Day Tarmac Rally in October saw Tim McIver win in his 2WD Ford Escort while David Quantok (Skoda Fabia AP4) won the Lawrence Rally round a fortnight ago.