Rally Wairarapa kicks off tomorrow ' />

Northland drivers will head south for this weekend's fourth leg of the Rally New Zealand Championships in Wairarapa.
Rally Wairarapa kicks off tomorrow  from the small settlement of Pongaroa, where Kerikeri's Kingsley Thompson and Whangarei's Ben Jagger will thrash it out with the field over seven special stages around the area.
On Sunday, teams leave Masterton to contest eight stages north of the township, stopping twice for servicing in Eketahuna, covering a further 117km of special stages - 249.36km in total - before returning to Masterton for the finish.
After three rounds, the last one being at home in the Rally of Whangarei, Jagger and co-driver Ben Hawkins, driving their Ford Fiesta, are in eighth spot on the Rally NZ points table while Thompson and his co-driver, Malcolm Peden, are 13th in their Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 10.
With only this weekend's event and Rally of Nelson on September 19-20 left to go in the Rally NZ Championship, there is plenty at stake for competitors at Wairarapa.
Thompson is   ninth in the Rookie category and 10th in the Group N 4WD Rally category, while Jagger leads the Group N 2WD and is fourth in the Junior Rally Championship.
Meanwhile, there is an all-out battle at the top between defending 22-year-old New Zealand Rally champion Hayden Paddon and Richard Mason.
Paddon and co-driver John Kennard in the Team Green Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 head the field as current point leaders. However, the Masterton-based husband and wife  Mason pairing in the BNT Subaru have previously shone at the Wairarapa event with dominant wins.
Paddon's 27-point advantage for the overall title has him as the one to beat.
"We're going there to win outright," the Geraldine-based driver said.
"We're there to 100 per cent win the rally - which would have to be the hardest this season. It'd be like trying to beat the  Finns in Finland, if you want a comparison," he said of the Mason dominance.
"Richard [and co-driver Sara] is always going to be fast there. But we found we could improve the car in the loose gravel when we were running first on the road at Whangarei. This time it won't be so much of a disadvantage with Richard starting right behind us." 
For the Masons, the weekend focus will be on finishing ahead of Paddon.
However, Mason cautions former champion Chris West and co-driver Chris Cobham could be the ones to watch. Christchurch-based West will be driving a newer model Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 9 - again in left-hand-drive configuration.
Hours from having consolidated her third placed position in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, Hamilton's Emma Gilmour arrives fresh from competition in Japan to protect her current New Zealand ranking - third, behind Paddon and Mason.
The pre-event reconnaissance will take place today  before the cars depart Pongaroa at 8.40am tomorrow for stage one.
The rally is expected to start with 56 teams, aside from the 27 contesting classes in the Vantage New Zealand Rally Championship, with many  competing for placings in the Geartech Central Region Rally Series, which takes place tomorrow.