Dale Budge is a sports writer for the NZ Herald.

Motorsport: Awesome Audi returning

Audi is a motoring brand synonymous with rallying. Photo / Supplied
Audi is a motoring brand synonymous with rallying. Photo / Supplied

In the 1970s and 80s Audi were one of the big players in world rallying and now a Kiwi driver is bringing the respected brand back on the domestic scene.

Dylan Turner has built and will drive an Audi Quattro S1 car at this month's International Rally of Whangarei -- the latest AP4 spec car to hit the New Zealand Rally Championship.

Turner, who decided late last year he wanted to build an AP4 car for this year's championship, said when it came to picking a manufacturer there was only one he could think of.

"I've always admired the Audi -- the Quattro was kind of a cult car when it comes to rally. Audi is obviously a name synonymous with rallying," Turner said.

It was in October last year that Turner began piecing together a plan to construct an Audi having seen a number of AP4 cars contesting the 2016 championship.

"I had been watching the AP4 cars and noticed how quick they were and how easy they appeared to be to drive.

It is definitely the way of the future.

"So it was just a case of coming up with a brand and for me it was a no brainer -- the Audi brand is something I have always been passionate about. I have owned Audis for the past 10-15 years so that was how I decided to go down the Audi track.

"Choice Performance in Pukekohe and I devised a plan to build an Audi Quattro S1 based on the A1 platform.

"We looked at the successful R5 cars that are built by the sister company Skoda and looked at what they were doing and copied a lot of it but using Audi parts. We got a 1600cc Audi motor built up based on the R5 specifications."

Turner's team is in a race against time to be finished the build by the time Whangarei rolls around but is confident they'll be ready.

"It is just being finished at the paint shop and the assembly begins tomorrow so we are hoping to be ready for Whangarei.

"It should come together pretty quick -- the engine has already been tuned. There is no more fabricating or anything left to do.

"We are hoping to do the shakedown on the Wednesday. We are hoping to get it on the road a day or two before but hopefully we'll be at the shakedown."

Turner's Audi will join other AP4-spec cars including Holden, Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Skoda at the start line.

Some of Turner's rivals have struggled getting the AP4 cars up to speed immediately but the Aucklander thinks they might be at an advantage.

"I don't think we'll have as many issues because we have gone down the route of replicating what the R5 are doing" he said. "We have gone for a tried and proven 1600 motor with the Audi block and Audi head that has been used by the Skoda team for years. There are always things we might not have thought of but hopefully not too much."

- NZ Herald

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