Whangarei driver Ben Jagger says he plans to pick up the pace at the second round of the Brian Green Property Group Rally New Zealand Rally Championship held this weekend through Franklin, North Waikato, Raglan and based at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park near Meremere south of Auckland.
At last month's opening round of the season at Rally Otago Jagger along with co-driver Ben Hawkins placed seventh in the Group N Championship after displaying a consistent and level headed drive throughout the weekend which did not come easily for the youthful pair of Northlanders affectionately known to most as the 'Two Bens'.
Jagger 22 and Hawkins 26 managed to overcoming obstacles over the weekend including suffering gearbox problems and while combating the Super Special Stage through the streets of Dunedin the car lost a wheel after contact with the street curbing.
The pair were able to go forth and achieve a result worthy of championship contenders at Rally Otago, all the while banking valuable points towards the five round campaign in the country's highest level of rally competition.
"We were very pleased with our result there. We were aiming at being inside the top 10, I didn't think we were going too hard and I think we can afford to push a bit harder this weekend. I cut things a little close on the street stage but luckily we were able to carry on with just three wheels and finish." said Jagger.
Jagger and the team made improvements on the SeedForce Subaru Impreza WRX over the off season and the Northland driver was pleased to report the car showed good potential at the completion of the opening rally of the year.
"The car is going very well and seems to be pretty quick. I'm looking forward to this weekend and I think we will be strong there. I like the roads they use at this rally and we have notes for them already so I think we can expect to do well." said Jagger.
Rally New Zealand begins on the evening of Friday 6th May with a driver's signing and ceremonial over-the-ramp start at Manukau City Centre. It all begins from 6pm with the first car expected over the ramp at 7.30pm.
The real action gets underway however when the first car leaves the Rally NZ Headquarters at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park at 8am Saturday morning. The field of over 70 cars will head out to the Franklin and North Waikato regions where they will compete eight stages including two Super Special Stages back at the Hampton Downs circuit at 12.08pm and 4.43pm.
On Sunday a further six special stages will be conducted through the Waikato and Raglan and will come to an exciting climax when the cars return to Hampton Downs for a final Super Special Stage to end off the weekend with another hard blast around the circuit.
For those who are unable to get out to witness the special stages held on the gravel but sill looking for an exciting weekend there will be motorsport entertainment galore at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park on both Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets costing $10 for Saturday and $25 for Sunday will treat you to the three Rally New Zealand Super Special Stages, Drift demonstrations, Gymkhana X Competition, bikin models and circuit racing from different classes including classics, GT, Sports and muscle cars plus Formula 5000 and Atlantics.
More information and a map are available online at www.rallynz.org.nz and the prize giving for the Rally New Zealand competitors will take place trackside 5.30pm on Sunday again at Hampton Downs.
Further information regarding Ben Jagger and the SeedForce Subaru Impreza WRX is available at www.benjagger.co.nz.