Energywise Rally - Honda tops the leaderboard after the first stage

In road cycling the race leader wears the coveted yellow jersey. In the Energywise Rally it is the yellow hat that distinguishes the race leader. Already Paul Longdill has secured the yellow hat for half the distance for Honda in this year’s rally by taking out the first stage in 2010, earning yellow rights for the second day. Paul was overall winner in the 2008 event and also scored yellow rights for day 1, so things are shaping up nicely for this year’s event.

The leading cars in this year’s event after the first day are all hybrids.

Overall Rank, Car, Drivers, Running cost for first 549kms:

1) Honda Civic Hybrid, Longdill / Kurte, $44.21
2) Toyota Prius, Amon / Rowe, $46.13
3) Toyota Prius, Whittaker / Rushton, $46.76
4) Honda Insight, Maetzig / Maetzig, $47.00

Just $2.79 separates the top four place holders after 549kms, so there will be considerable nail biting waiting for days 2, 3 & 4 results.

What is being proven in this rally is that the simpler Honda hybrid system is delivering the results in real world driving conditions on New Zealand’s winding and hilly roads. On the highway, based on Day One’s running cost of the best Prius, it would take 8.9 million kms to rationalise the price gap of $14,000 between the Prius ($49,690) and the Insight S ($35,600) that so far is just $0.87 behind in fuel usage after this distance.

If it had been a race around town the Prius may have had the numbers on the Hondas but in the typical NZ driving environment, the IMA system that drives the Civic Hybrid and the new Honda Insight showcases that Honda has the numbers over Toyota.

In addition to the two Honda hybrids, Honda has eight others (totalling 10) of the top 15 overall places:

Overall rank & drivers

6) Honda Insight - Cheung / Kelly
7) Honda Civic Hybrid - Johns / Liston
9) Honda Insight - Summerfield / Allan
10) Honda City - Meyer / Turner
11) Jazz 1.3 S - Willmot / McKinnon
12) Jazz 1.3 S - Makino / Lee
13) Jazz 1.3 S - Cowan / Jackson
15) Jazz Sport - Diack / Baker