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After competing in Corsica and Paraguay in recent weeks, busy co-driver Phil Hall will make a return trip to New Zealand in the next few days, where he will compete alongside rapid national driver Rhys Gardner at the International Rally of Whangarei (4th – 6th May).

Just days after narrowly missing out on a podium spot in South America at the Super Rally del Nanduti alongside Skoda Fabia R5 pilot Miguel Garcia, Hall will embark on a trip to New Zealand to partner Gardner in a top-flight Mazda 2 AP4+.

The duo have previously competed together and tackled the event last year, finishing sixth overall against some stiff competition in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship.

The 29 year-old co-driver from Mansfield is taking on one of the busiest seasons in his co-driving career, spearheaded by a seat alongside fellow Brit Tom Williams in the FIA Junior World Rally Championship. When the calendar allows, Hall has been recruited by a significant number of international drivers, looking to harness his skills in the passenger seat.

Despite contesting several events in Australia, Rally Whangarei will mark only his second in New Zealand but Hall’s previous experience of the event and the Mazda will be a valuable tool in the search of a podium result on the super-fast and flowing roads, reminiscent of the WRC events of years gone by.

The backed co-driver has been looking forward to competing on the island again and was delighted when he got the call from Gardner to return for another shot at the event.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be heading back to New Zealand with Rhys again this year” says Hall.

“There is just something about the country that is really inspirational and I guess watching years of WRC events using some spectacular roads there really does embed itself into your brain. The Mazda is a really impressive tool as well, the AP4 cars are similar to the R5 cars in international competition but with different modifications. It was an amazing experience last year and I’ve no doubt it will be again”.

“There is some serious competition out there on that rally” he continues.

“WRC driver Haydon Paddon has already entered and it’s a great opportunity for me to compete alongside another top driver with a more than capable car. The Asia Pacific Rally Championship crews are insanely fast, but I’m looking forward to guiding Rhys towards the podium spots over some classic stages”.

The event boasts over 290km of special stages with a spectator friendly Pohe Island Super Special Stage on Friday 4th May.

On Saturday, the route heads north toward Piahia and then across to Helena Bay before returning to Whangarei and a service halt which is then repeated in the afternoon.

The action heads south on Sunday, through Waipu Caves and Millbrook areas before heading west through Waiotira and back to Whangarei for a service break mid-morning. Following the early afternoon repeat run, the cars then arrive back in Whangarei for the ceremonial finish.

Hall is sponsored by WWW.ITSMYMOTORSPORT.CO.UK
He is also supported by the Royal Air Force and is a graduate of the MSA Academy.

Image credit Wishart Media

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