You get the feeling it would take a lot to get Sloan Cox down.

Rotorua's top rally driver entered 2017 full of hope on the back of a second place finish in the New Zealand Rally Championship the year before. Eager to push for a place on top of the podium, it was not to be as he was hampered by mechanical issues throughout the year and scrapped his way to a sixth place finish overall.

"The rally championship was frustrating, coming off second place we knew what it would take to win and we knew we could do it. A lot of prep went into the car during the off-season and it seemed like a lot of the problems were gone, but then we started having new problems.

"We had two turbos go at two events in a row, that's never happened before so that was very frustrating.


"The car is getting old, it was built back in 2009 and it's been racing every circuit since then. There are just parts getting old and wearing out, while we fixed a lot of things, other problems came in," Cox said.

Although the New Zealand Rally Championship as a whole did not go to plan, Cox preferred to concentrate on the positives.

In September he broke his own record and won the Ashley Forest Rallysprint in North Canterbury, before finishing second at the Rally of Waitomo in October. He also finished second at the Leadfoot Festival in February.

Rotorua rally driver Sloan Cox is working his way towards racing overseas. Photo / Stephen Parker
Rotorua rally driver Sloan Cox is working his way towards racing overseas. Photo / Stephen Parker

"We knew we had the speed - every year they do an unofficial gravel driver rating and we were rated the third fastest in the country. Hayden [Paddon] was number one, he deserved that, and Andrew Hawkeswood who won the championship was second.

"There were definitely a lot of positives, when we were going well we showed the speed we had, we put our foot down and showed we can dominate.

"Ashley Forest was definitely the biggest highlight, we broke the record last year but didn't get the win because you have to finish every run. To go back there and win it, and break our own record, was awesome.

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"Finishing second at Leadfoot was a bonus. I've been fourth, third and second there, so we'll be back this year going for the win."

In 2018 Cox wants to work towards racing overseas.

"The big thing for us getting overseas is contacts, it's not always just about driving, it's about who you know as well. That networking is big for me now, I need to use social media and make that blow up, it's the best way to get my name out there.

"I need to find that next step to get somewhere. I still love rallying, want to keep doing it, but I need to figure out that next step. You can't just keep doing New Zealand over and over again just trying to win the championship - of course we want to win it, but there's plenty of time for that, it's more important to go to that next level."

Cox had not decided whether he would compete in the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship.

"It kind of comes down to the car, we were trying to plan all year to get a new car, but in New Zealand it doesn't just happen like that, they're very expensive. We know our car is capable of winning, but it will take a lot of work. That's what I'm weighing up now, I definitely want to rally, it is the best form of motorsport."