‘Amazing experience’ for Hall in New Zealand rally

Co-driver Phil Hall, of Mansfield, in action in New Zealand. (PHOTO BY: Geoff Ridder)
Co-driver Phil Hall, of Mansfield, in action in New Zealand. (PHOTO BY: Geoff Ridder)

Mansfield-based co-driver Phil Hall hailed “an amazing experience” after taking part in the International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand.

Hall guided New Zealand ace Rhys Gardner to a top-20 finish after overcoming engine woes which blighted their performance in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship qualifier.

And afterwards, he said it had been “a real honour to tackle such iconic roads, which have shaped the World Rally Championship (WRC) and which I remember watching in awe as a child”.

“Sadly, it was one of those events where the result and stage times were not really representative of just how hard we pushed all weekend,” he said after the pair had crossed the finish ramp in 20th.

“But the stages were absolutely incredible. When the car was working, it was insane, and Rhys drove perfectly, but it just wasn’t to be on the day.

“It was an amazing experience and to come back to New Zealand to compete with Rhys was truly fantastic. I’m looking forward to having another chance, but with full power next time.”

Hall and Gardner were in the top ten for most of the opening day of the 290km rally, only for a power issue to force their Mazda 2 down the field, meaning they were unable to match their sixth place in last year’s event.

It was just the latest international race Hall has fitted into his packed schedule. He’s also competed in Paraguay and Europe, alongside his commitments in the WRC with fellow Brit Tom Williams.

This weekend, he is closer to home in the Plains Rally at Welshpool, rejoining Williams in their Ford Fiesta R2.