In their first stint across the ditch, Team Enzed was not only the first under-three-litre car home in the 2016 Classic Adelaide Rally GT Trophy competition, but they also took home an impressive third-place overall finish.
The ex-works 1400cc turbo Abarth was beaten only by the much more powerful BMW M3 V8 and a Subaru WRX that engages full-time four-wheel drive.
“But we did beat home a Porsche GT3, so that made the weekend,” said team owner and driver Mike Lowe.
“We also kept our 100-per-cent finishing record intact, now into our 23rd year!”
Always on the hunt for extra power, and only a few days before the event was set to start, Abarth Racing couriered down a new ECU and injectors to the team — those examples coming from a Ferrari 599 GTO nonetheless — to give the team a last-minute upgrade.
Time constraints meant road-testing was out of the question, and the new system was run in anger during stage one of the rally.
“We had a difficult first day, and, to be honest, I thought the new software wasn’t doing what it should, but as the day went on, the new ECU self-learning function kicked in, and we got faster and faster. By the end of the day we were flying,” said Lowe.
Needing to recover time from the slower first day, Low and co-driver Kerry Chevis hit the day-two stages with full force, clawing back two positions before lunchtime with their eye on second place.
Unfortunately, two of the day's stages were cancelled, leaving the crew in their still very impressive third placing.
“The car ran faultlessly throughout the event, a credit to the preparation undertaken by [the] Team Enzed Abarth New Zealand–based crew of Nigel Derbyshire and Dave Jowett.