Nelson's Ben Hunt celebrates his first ever rally victory after the Manawatu Daybreaker, which is part of the National Rally Championship with co-driver Tony Rawstron over the weekend. Photo: Geoff Ridder.

Nelson rally driver wins maiden race

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Ben Hunt won his first ever rally when he took out the third round of the National Rally Championship, the Manawatu Daybreaker, on Saturday.
Until this season the Nelson diesel mechanic has only ever competed in class winning cars, but his step up to a turbocharged all wheel drive WRX STI outright contender has produced immediate results.
For much of the Daybreaker event he and co-driver Tony Rawstron battled with former champion Chris West (Christchurch) for second place behind Masterton’s Richard Mason.
But when Richard stopped in the last stage with mechanical problems, Ben took his maiden win by 13 seconds over Chris.
“We wanted to be competitive from the start of the season,” said an ecstatic Ben. “And Manawatu showed we could be. It’s pretty awesome.”
For the last two years Ben has won the Two Wheel Drive National Championship in a Ford Fiesta and in 2011 he was also the Junior Champion for drivers younger than 25 years old.
At the end of last year he finished a giant killing second overall in the final round of the championship at Gisborne in the Fiesta.
The step up to the ex Emma Gilmour WRX STI has produced immediate results for him, finishing third at the opening round of the series at Otago and then fourth at Whangarei.
Ben is tackling the season with support from Winger Subaru, Total Oils and his family and friends.