Makinen wins, but Gardemeister is the star

Tommi Makinen has won the Rally New Zealand for the first time, heading a 1-2-3 for Finnish drivers

Makinen wins, but Gardemeister is the star

The Mitsubishi star has dominated for most of the event, untouchable ever since his nearest challengers Colin McRae and Richard Burns dropped out on leg one.

The story of the event has to be the performance of Toni Gardemeister. His 3rd place is the best result yet for the SEAT Cordoba WRC, and came on his first outing in the car. A protégé of Juha Kankkunen, Gardemeister has long been tipped as a future star and his performances in the British Championship this season have impressed many people. On his first WRC event for SEAT, the Finn outshone his equally highly-rated team mate Harri Rovanpera and ran comfortably on the pace of the leaders throughout.

None of the regulars could muster a challenge to Makinen, who only cracked this event last year after a series of crashes here in previous seasons. Juha Kankkunen ran 2nd but a slow start to leg one meant he was always too far behind to be a real threat. Burns didn't last long enough to make an impact and while the two Toyota's looked like taking the minor podium placings, errors and reliability problems eventually forced them down the order.

Gustavo Trelles took Group N honours and 9th overall, while Kenneth Eriksson inherited the F2 spoils after his Hyundai team mate Alister McRae crashed on leg two and lost nearly five minutes.

Next up is the 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland. No-one has beaten Makinen at home since 1994, and another victory could seal his fourth consecutive title beyond doubt. However, Kankkunen is pretty handy on his home turf as well, and with the Subaru team back on the pace, he could spoil Tommi's party. So could Gardemeister, again down to drive the ever-improving SEAT WRC. The Finns have ruled the roost effortlessly in New Zealand, at home they will be an even tougher proposition.

Final result, Rally of New Zealand:





















































1


Tommi Makinen


Mitsubishi Lancer


4h11m07.1s


2


Juha Kankkunen


Subaru Impreza


4h12m44.1s


3


Toni Gardemeister


SEAT Cordoba


4h13m56.1s


4


Didier Auriol


Toyota Corolla


4h17m22.9s


5


Possum Bourne


Subaru Impreza


4h17m55.4s


6


Carlos Sainz


Toyota Corolla


4h19m23.0s


7


Matthias Kahle


Toyota Corolla


4h25m44.2s


8


Freddy Loix


Mitsubishi Carisma


4h26m34.4s


9


Gustavo Trelles


Mitsubishi Lancer


4h28m32.8s


10


Hamed Al Wahaibi


Mitsubishi Lancer


4h30m21.s

shares
comments
Makinen nearly home and dry
Previous article

Makinen nearly home and dry

Next article

Is there still life left for Toyota?

Is there still life left for Toyota?
Load comments
How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead Plus

How Rovanpera overcame rallying royalty in Portugal to extend his WRC lead

Although the Rally Portugal entry list featured World Rally Championship royalty in Sebastiens Loeb and Ogier, victory was secured by rallying's rising star in Kalle Rovanpera. Here's the story of his 2022 hat-trick, as his key rivals faltered among the gravel and asphalt ahead of them

WRC
May 23, 2022
The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera Plus

The former WRC star playing the unsung hero role for Rovanpera

Kalle Rovanpera’s 2022 World Rally Championship displays have been spectacular, with the Toyota driver benefitting from a secret weapon in his crew to win two of the opening three rallies. But while the former challenger to Sebastien Loeb won’t take credit for his fellow Finn's performances, a key bond has been formed which could prove key to Rovanpera’s title charge

WRC
Apr 29, 2022
How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals Plus

How Rovanpera's Croatia turnaround sent a message to his WRC rivals

After a dominating Rally Croatia, a wrong tyre choice on the final day looked to have undone all Kalle Rovanpera's hard work and left him with a mountain to climb heading into the power stage. That he emerged the winner all the same has surely quelled any lingering doubts that the Finn is the man to beat in the 2022 WRC

WRC
Apr 25, 2022
How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021 Plus

How M-Sport's faith in Loubet led to a WRC reprieve after a dismal 2021

It's fair to say 2021 was a year to forget for Pierre-Louis Loubet. A maiden full World Rally Championship season offered hope but soon turned into a nightmare that ended in hospital, after being hit by a car in a road traffic accident. Now handed a lifeline by M-Sport, the Frenchman is desperate to rebuild his career

WRC
Apr 20, 2022
Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect Plus

Why WRC mechanics deserve more respect

The drivers get the glare of attention, but it’s the mechanics who are key to the operation of any World Rally Championship car. Autosport donned a set of overalls and joined M-Sport on a Belgian national rally event to get an inside look into the trials and tribulations of a rally mechanic

WRC
Apr 17, 2022
The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer Plus

The African McRae aiming to become a WRC pioneer

Taking his first step into the Junior World Rally Championship category, McRae Kimathi - named after 1995 world champion Colin - found himself in the unfamiliar climes of Sweden's snow and ice. Having impressed, Kimathi hopes to blaze a trail to the top level of WRC and help other African drivers to step onto the ladder

WRC
Mar 8, 2022
How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight after the Loeb vs Ogier show Plus

How Rovanpera grabbed the Rally Sweden spotlight after the Loeb vs Ogier show

After a blockbuster opening act to the new era of the World Rally Championship with the battle of the Sebastiens at Monte Carlo, Rally Sweden would be the first chance to assess the next superstar of rallying. While teething issues with the new hybrid power thwarted some of the cast, Kalle Rovanpera’s display gave him headline billing

WRC
Feb 28, 2022
The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation Plus

The "painful" journey behind the WRC's generational tech innovation

As the company selected to provide the hybrid kits for the 2022 World Rally Championship, the pressure was on Compact Dynamics at the Monte Carlo season opener. Needing to treat all three manufacturers equally, it wasn't a straightforward process, but its first big test was a resounding success that bodes well for the future

WRC
Feb 25, 2022