Mount Maunganui's David Holder finished in sixth place at the final round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, the Mahindra Goldrush Rally Coromandel.
Holder and co-driver Jason Farmer headed to the event safe in the knowledge that they had secured the title of New Zealand Rally Champions, but keen to add a third round win to the tally.
However, a change in the car setup from the previous event left Holder lacking confidence as the first car on the road so the pair were relieved to reach the first service.
With changes to the car setup made, Holder found some more speed, resulting in a win through stage five, climbing up the leader board. Unfortunately it was too little too late for the championship winning pair.
The final three stages saw the team bring the Stadium Finance Mitsubishi home safely to secure sixth place, using the opportunity to enjoy the closing stages of the event.
Incredibly of all the events they've finished, the result is the first time Holder has not stood on the podium in all of his rallying career.
"It was a bit of a strange event, we certainly prepared well to go there for the win, but ultimately it comes down to what you do on the day and we couldn't quite deliver this time around," said Holder.
"There was definitely a bit of gravel to contend with being the first car on the road, but not enough that we can claim that as the issue for not reaching the podium.
"But it's not the end of the world, I'd be a lot more upset if we hadn't already wrapped up the championship."
The team also took some time prior to the event to get out and about in the local community, with a special school visit amongst other Coromandel scenic attractions.
"It was really nice to get amongst the community and promote our sponsors at the same time. Jase and I both particularly enjoyed visiting the local school as they certainly made us feel welcome, although perhaps all the lollies and spot prizes from Stadium Finance helped with that," laughed Holder.
"This season has been a fantastic one for us, we really have achieved a dream. But it couldn't have happened if it weren't for the likes of Stadium Finance and everyone that has supported us across the season, so a huge thanks goes out to everyone who's been involved."
The team now shifts their focus immediately to preparing a 2017 campaign contesting the New Zealand Rally Championship and are also working hard searching for opportunities to take their campaign to an international level.
"Jase and I are both really focused on continuing to move forward. We're looking to find some opportunities to gain some International experience alongside our plans to run another NZ campaign in 2017," Holder said.
"It's been a tough road to get here and no doubt it will get even tougher. But we both know we have what it takes to be successful, so will be focusing on putting our best foot forward."