Motorsport: Murphy couldn't resist new Holden rally car

By Dale Budge

Greg Murphy sits in the shell of the new AP4 Holden Barina. Photo / Holden Barina RallySport
Greg Murphy sits in the shell of the new AP4 Holden Barina. Photo / Holden Barina RallySport

Kiwi motorsport star Greg Murphy is looking forward to getting the competitive juices flowing again next year when he contests the New Zealand Rally Championship.

Murphy fashioned a superb V8 Supercars career - many experts nominate him as the greatest driver never to win a championship - but stepped away from the sport in 2014 to focus on a commentary and media career.

The 44-year-old has been part of the Supercars television commentary team the past two seasons and fronts a television show on Sky but the draw of competition, a long-held passion for rallying and the temptation of a new challenge has prompted Murphy to turn from tarmac to gravel.

"It is very different," Murphy tells herald.co.nz. "The pressure is not there to perform at the absolute top level. I am getting involved in this because it is a lot of fun.

"It is a huge amount of enjoyment."

Murphy has confirmed he will drive a brand new Holden Barina - one of two cars being prepared to AP4 standard that will contest the national championship next year.

"The rally championship is growing in this country," Murphy says. "The popularity of it has always been strong but it is coming back to a strength that we have missed for quite a while.

An artists' concept design of the AP4 Holden Barina rally car.
An artists' concept design of the AP4 Holden Barina rally car.

"There are exciting talks about Rally New Zealand coming back next year.

"The AP4 class we are entering in next year with the Barinas is something that is really starting to find its feet here in New Zealand with manufacturers supporting entries there.

"It is loosely designed around WRC so you can have all the smaller cars that manufacturers are really focusing on these days. Holden have really shown some support to it."

That support means a two-car team based out of Christchurch and a more experienced rallying teammate.

"Josh Marston, who is going to be my teammate, has some incredible skills and hopefully he will be able to showcase the car at the front of the field and I'll be able to do something somewhere else but hopefully help raise the profile of rallying.

"I have fallen in love with it. It is just a whole different ballgame which has no comparison to what I have done in all my years of circuit racing.

"I am learning from scratch and loving every minute of it."

The cars are currently being built - the first is to be ready for the Leadfoot Festival in February.

- NZ Herald

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