Suffering from brake issues at the second round at the Narooma Forest Rally, a win was not looking good, but despite a rotor cracking and making the car almost impossible to drive, the team still achieved a win after some close calls on a few of the afternoon stages.
Further issues would hit the team at the next round, the APS Myall Lakes Rally. An accelerator cable broke and Valantine was forced to drive with his hand out the window pulling a make-shift cord attached to the throttle linkage. They still managed to limp out of the stages, but could only manage to place 5th at Round 3.
Round 4 was back on the NSW South Coast at the Mini Dulla Rally. A convincing win at this event put them back in the lead of the championship and a championship win was looking likely with two rounds still to go. But it would be disaster at round 5, the Patterson’s Glass-works Clybucca Rally. Erin was unable to compete at this round, so Michael’s son Tim would step into the co-drivers seat only to suffer a Differential failure that would sideline the team in the opening stages. This would drop them from the top of the leader-board and it was down to the final round.
The fast and flowing Kosciusko Automotive Monaro Stages Rally was a new event, and Valantine would need to outpace his rivals to win the series. That’s exactly what he did, winning the DRS two wheel drive section of the rally after a consistent drive.
Only 5 of the 6 rounds count in the series, so after dropping their worst result, the MV Solar Team finished on top, 10 points clear of Bob Moore in another Datsun Stanza.
6 rallies, 4 wins, Michael and Erin Valantine are the 2017 New South Wales Techworkz Automotive Development Rally Series Driver and Co-Driver Champions.