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Rod Millen back at Otago Classic Rally
Submitted by Keith Hanna on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 9:29am

The glory days of rally driver Rod Millen's early career will be recalled at the Otago Classic Rally courtesy of Waikato motorsport preparation specialist Frontline Motorsport and Wynn's New Zealand.

A former three-time New Zealand champion, Millen forged a worldwide reputation for his feats behind the wheel of a number of rotary-engined Mazdas and he has accepted an invitation to drive an RX7 in this year's Otago Classic.

The rally has attracted entries from four-time world rally champion Juha Kankkunen and fellow Finn Pasi Hagstrom, and former Australian and Asia-Pacific champion Ross Dunkerton.

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more info
No Rotor
May 14, 2004 - 6:52am
The Dunlop Otago International Classic Rally based in Dunedin, New Zealand, continues to go from strength to strength each year. This year's event looks like being the best yet with the announcement that e- NZ rally champion and past Asia Pacific rally champion, Rod Millen, will be competing.

Millen has been based in the USA for a number of years and is one of New Zealand's best known rally drivers from his achievements in the late 1970's in his Mazda RX3. He was Goldstar NZ rally champion in 1977 and followed this up with a win in the Asia Pacific rally championship in 1989.

In addition, he is well known for his record breaking drive at the famous Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado and more recently he has been a regular competitor at the annual "Race to the Sky " hillclimb near Queenstown - an event he won in 2002 in his mighty Toyota Tundra "ute".

For the Otago Rally he will be competing in a Mazda RX7 owned and prepared by Brett Lightfoot of Hamilton.

Millen will go head to head at the Otago Rally with Ross Dunkerton from Australia - one of the true legends of the sport in Australasia. Dunkerton's record of wins in the Australian Rally Championship has only been bettered by the late Possum Bourne and like Millen, is a past winner of the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, winning in both 1991 and 1992. Dunkerton has competed several times in the Otago Classic Rally and this year returns in a Nissan Bluebird that is sure to be competitive.

With increased support from major sponsors Dunlop, the Classic Rally caters for pre 1983 cars. It continues to grow and this year is expected to attract more than 50 teams. The event recreates the memories of rallying during the 70's and 80's and many of the sports past champions are coming back to compete in cars in which they first started their careers. An extremely competitive entry of New Zealanders will be led by last year's rally winner, Brian Stokes.

Event spokesman Roger Oakley, said: "The organising team are delighted to be able confirm Millen and Dunkerton's entries. They both have a tremendous following in New Zealand and their entry really highlights the growing reputation of the event and the popularity of classic rallying".

Millen and Dunkerton will join four times world rally champion Juha Kankkunen as starters in the 250km, 15 stage rally to be held on May 22 and 23. Further information can be found at
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No Rotor
May 24, 2004 - 1:17pm
Hagstrom rockets to Otago lead
By Peter Whitten

An overcast and damp day in the New Zealand south island around Dunedin has seen Finland's Pasi Hagstrom set the pace on the opening day of the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago.

Driving a Ford Escort RS1800, Hagstrom was the class of the field, even outshining four-time World Champion Juha Kankkunen in a similar Escort BDA. So far Hagstrom has won every stage of the day, and with only a super special stage around a trotting track left to run, he leads Kankkunen by one minute and 22 seconds.

Deane Buist lies third in a 1600cc Escort, while a 2.0 litre version of the Ford classic lies fourth, with Derek Ayson at the wheel. Ex-pat Kiwi Rod Millen is fifth in a Mazda RX7, while Australians Ross Dunkerton and Alan Stean are eighth, nearly seven minutes off the lead, in a rented Nissan Bluebird.

Results after 7 of 15 stages:
1. Pasi Hagstrom, Ford Escort RS1800, 1h27m08.0s
2. Juha Kankkunen, Ford Escort RS1800, +1m22.5s
3. Deane Buist, Ford Escort 1600, +3m30.9s
4. Derek Ayson, Ford Escort Mk 2, +4m17.2s
5. Rod Millen, Mazda RX7, +4m54.6s
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rally rod!
No Rotor
May 14, 2004 - 9:53pm
Now that hes done the rally, as he told me, will motivate him to do the fixings on his own AWD SCCA rally cars and present them at 7S7!
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