Holden Barina AP4 rally car shows promise

When you think of rally cars, Holden’s Barina isn’t exactly the first one that springs to mind. GM doesn’t compete in the WRC, so cars like the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo, Citroen C3 and all-conquering Toyota Yaris WRC go unchallenged by the General.

Until now, that is. The 2017 New Zealand Rally Championship has given rise to the Holden Barina AP4 – something far more hardcore and heavy-duty than the tepid Barina RS hatch on the showroom floor.

This one utilises a 1.8-litre turbo engine wound all the way up to a V8-esque 260kW and 500Nm of twist. Best of all, it is all-wheel drive, via a six-speed sequential gearbox supplied by Sadev.

The chassis is put together by Force Motorsport, with SupaShock taking care of damping duties – a brand familiar to V8 Supercars as well as fans of recent HSV flagships. The aim of the exercise was to build a car that could be acquired at a reasonable price to competitors both in NZ and here.

The car will be piloted by none other than NZ’s racing hero Greg Murphy, when the Championship’s first round in Otago begins on April 7.

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Mitchell was a contributing journalist and features writer at Performance Drive. He has been a passionate petrol-head from a very young age. He is excited by the future of the industry, and considers himself as a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the technical aspects of cars. He is also fascinated by new cars that are popping up in developing markets.