Bay of Plenty-based New Zealand rally star Phil Campbell has booked his entry into the Battle of Jacks Ridge and will bring his Ford Fiesta AP4 car to tackle the 3km stage.
Campbell has been one of the leading drivers on the domestic scene the past few seasons and went within a whisker of claiming a memorable national championship victory at Rally Waitomo last year before disaster struck on the final stage and he crashed out while leading.
His Roofing Store Ford Fiesta has been getting quicker and quicker and he heads to the purpose-built Jacks Ridge stage – on former national champion Andrew Hawkeswood’s Auckland property – ready to announce himself as a competition heavyweight.
“I think we would have to go there with the main aim of winning the rally class overall,” Campbell said. “Our car will still have the restrictor in it and full rally trim so if we could be up near the pointy end of rally cars I will be happy.”
Like most competitors Campbell has only seen Jacks Ridge from videos posted on social media and he is yet to see the layout in the flesh.
The rally sprint will use 3km of the 6km-long Jacks Ridge stage that features cambered gravel roads, technical corners and spectacular jumps.
“I have seen all sorts of bits pop up on Facebook over the last month or so and it looks like a lot of fun up there,” Campbell said.
“It is pretty cool that Andrew has made that commitment to build us that road that is awesome and I am pretty excited to have a drive of it.”
Campbell is a fan of rally sprints and being able to fine tune the car and his driving with the more runs he gets at the same piece of road.
“We have done quite a few rally sprints and hill climbs at club level over the years so it is cool to go on the same bit of road over and over again.
“You can really get some speed out of the car and so it will be exciting to see just how hard you can actually push the car – it is obviously a bit different to normal rallies with pace notes so we will see what we can do.”
The Battle of Jacks Ridge will be broadcast live on Sky Sport on Sunday November 15.
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