Mount Maunganui-based rally driver David Holder can stand tall after claiming both Rookie of the Year and Open 2WD National Rally Championship titles.
He stormed through the special stages with stunning speed at last weekend’s Brother Rally of New Zealand.
Holder Brothers racing in the 2WD National Rally Championship.
The event was the fourth and penultimate round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, and included the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally for older vehicles that no longer meet the strict standards of the World Rally Championship (WRC) organisers.
Holder partnered with older brother and co-driver, James, to take both titles after overcoming a tough start to the rally.
Starting the event on a high with the exciting announcement that Hayden Paddon, Production World Rally Champion, had handpicked him as his protégé to mentor and guide him to the top of the sport, Holder then had his feet planted firmly back to the ground after mechanical failure early in the event.
“We had a good first special stage,” says David.
“But in the second stage we blew a waterpump belt - gutting. Luckily, we have a warning light on the dash and we pulled over straight away, saving the engine.”
Forced to withdraw temporarily, the brothers re-joined the rally to complete all four of the Friday afternoon stages, setting the two fastest two wheel drive (2WD) stage times along the way.
Saturday morning dawned and the Holder boys were on fire and spectacularly fast, taking outright 2WD wins across all events on all of the 6 special stages that were held.
Special stages 10 and 11 saw the brothers setting times that beat many of the international competitors in more powerful 4WD vehicles, with the duo ending as the leading 2WD competitor, beating 2nd placed Ben Hunt by 41seconds.
The pair also placed within one minute of leading PWRC driver Marcos Ligato for the day.
“We had a perfect day on Saturday,” says James.
“We had a nice clean run, fastest 2WD and getting outright stage wins in the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally was unreal and a pretty awesome feeling, we had a huge amount of fun.”
With the final special stage on Saturday being cancelled due to a vehicle catching on fire, the competitors were given assessed times before restarting early Sunday morning.
The early morning start was also an early morning end for the Holder Brothers as they slid wide on the first stage of the day and ended the rally off the road.
“It was a bit slipperier in the rain than I expected,” says David.
“I turned in but didn’t get grip and we flew off the road instead of around the corner. The car is actually looking pretty sweet and we are unhurt so still a pretty decent weekend overall.”
David says he’s stoked to have shown such speed and been able to wrap up the 2WD title and also the rookie title during the weekend.
“They were our two big goals for this year, we knew we could achieve them and now we are moving forward, with Hayden’s help, making our plans for next year and achieving our longer-term goals.”
Holder is looking forward to the opportunity he has been given to drive a loaned Ford Fiesta in the final round of the NZRC held in Gisbourne this August.