Subaru dominated the Wanganui Car Club Mini Pikes gravel hill climb on Saturday, filling three of the top four placings in the annual event.

Dannevirke racer Michael McLean's Subaru Impreza clocked the fastest run up the top end of the Rangitatau East Rd track with a 4.11.08 the quickest of his four allotted runs, while Tauranga's Adam Bligh was just over a second slower (4.12.12) in his Mitsubishi Evo 8, the only non-Subaru in the top four.

.Truck builder and former 4x4 national champion Dan Cowper hits the go button in his Subaru Imprezza to finish third in the Wanganui Car Club's Mini Pike hill climb on Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley
.Truck builder and former 4x4 national champion Dan Cowper hits the go button in his Subaru Imprezza to finish third in the Wanganui Car Club's Mini Pike hill climb on Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley

Turakina truck builder and former national 4x4 champion Dan Cowper was third in his Subaru Impreza with a 4.14.91 pass from the two runs he managed to complete on the day with Rex Vizible Manawatu fourth (4.17.25) in his Subaru Legacy.

Bligh was the quickest in practice of the 26 cars that raced on the day with a 4.17.14 run, but was soon eclipsed by eventual winner McLean who steadily increased the pace with each of his four attempts. Bligh, however, was red flagged in his second attempt, so effectively missed a run.

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Cowper may well have pressed the leaders had he not posted a DNF (did not finish) after misjudging a corner and heading off road. The damage ended his day's racing.

Slowest run of the day went to Graham Heath during practice in his Nissan Pulsar stopping the clock at 5.46.99, while Bevan Anderson was slowest of the day under race conditions with a 5.21.42 run in his Toyota MR2.

Teams discuss tactics as they await turns to make their runs in the Wanganui Car Club's Mini Pike hill climb on Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley
Teams discuss tactics as they await turns to make their runs in the Wanganui Car Club's Mini Pike hill climb on Saturday. Photo / Bevan Conley

The Mini Pikes event is named after the Pikes Peak hill climb in Colorado and has proven to be an exciting even for both spectators and drivers alike as cars of all makes and models drift sideways under full power around corners, often perilously close to steep drops in the rural setting.

The Rangitatau East Rd section is 5.5kmlong and features 96 bends, so is not for the faint-hearted at top speed.