Richard Mason has re-written the record book in winning his fifth national rally championship in the Wairarapa yesterday in his Subaru WRX STI.
With his co-driving wife Sara, Mason's fourth straight win of the season, is the earliest through the competition that any driver has claimed the crown. There are still two rounds remaining this year at Whitianga in August and in the Manawatu in September. And nobody has won four events in a row going right back to the sport's formative years when Rod Millen took the first national title in 1975.
Mason was unchallenged on his home event, setting up victory on the event's opening stage near Pongaroa where he was 50 seconds faster than eventual second placed Ben Hunt of Nelson in another WRX STI, over the 33 kms of narrow, twisting back country roads.
The Mason's won all nine stages of the event, finishing nearly three minutes in front of Hunt, who was similarly untouchable and over three minutes in front of third placed Stewart Taylor from Hawkes Bay who just grabbed the final podium spot from Tauranga's David Holder on the last stage.
"It's great to win the title on my home event," said Mason. "We've probably been a little bit lucky to win here eight times over the years."
He dedicated the title to Greg Horne, a former national championship co-driver in his own right, who died earlier this year and has been responsible for the long term sponsorship that Mason has had from BNT.
Wife Sara equaled the number of national championship round wins by Bob Haldane who set the existing record through the 1990s.