Rally New Zealand is a great event and hugely popular with spectators and competitors alike. Lets hope it’s back in 2012 and gets the sort of Government commitment the Rugby World Cup attracted. Rally NZ runs on a tiny budget, staffed largely by volunteers, the return on investment is huge and it has the potential to happen every couple of years.
“With the dust now well dampened after the 40th running of Rally New Zealand at the beginning of May, organising committee members with many years of experience running the international event said it was one of the very best events of this name ever run…”
”Carr says organisers’ best estimates of spectator numbers indicate around 95,000 people went out to watch at least one aspect of this year’s Rally New Zealand. “The crowd in Auckland Domain on the Friday evening was phenomenal! A good 25,000 people were there enjoying the action as world’s best drivers blasted through the night-time special stage on roads right in central Auckland. The Auckland Museum was a real showcase for Auckland, looking absolutely fantastic with its new lights.” “
“Saturday’s two super special stages ran at the new Hampton Down motorsport complex midway between Auckland and Hamilton, complemented by a variety of other races, displays and activities, and drew a crowd of around 15,000 fans. Other event venues – the service park on Auckland’s waterfront Queens Wharf, the start and finish ceremonies in Viaduct Harbour and the three days of special stages throughout the Whangarei, Kaipara, Franklin, North Waikato and Raglan districts – attracted approximately 55,000 people over the whole event”
Although his run ended with retirement (engine damage) it was great to see Albert Llovera in the Fiat Abarth Grande Punto this weekend. Last time I remember seeing a Fiat competing was back the late 1970s (Fulvio Baxxhelli & Francesco Rossetti won Rally NZ in a Fiat Abarth 131 in 1977).
Even more remarkable is, as a result of a ski accident, Albert drives with hand controls. Given the speed things happen in a rally car his hands must be a blur. These photos were shot at the Whangarei Remote Service and afternoon run through the Brooks Stage. A long straight, bridge jump and the tight S bend that follow make Brooks a great place to see the speed and agility of the current crop of WRC machines.
I remember hearing, briefly seeing as they flashed past, the Quattro Rally cars flying through New Zealand forest stages. It’s funny but all these years later, it’s why I think my Fiat, 5 cylinder too, sounds a bit Quattro!
Watch this awesome video of Walter Rohrl reunited with the legendary Group B Quattro.
Yay, the rally is back in Auckland next year. I got to like Rally as it ran, literally, past my primary school with the special stage in Birdwood Rd, Massey. Watching cars fly down a gravel road we cycled on was just amazing. Hamilton did a great job hosting, with the facilities at Mystery Creek, that Auckland will have to work hard to match. I
Rally New Zealand, the local round of the FIA World Rally Championship, will return to Auckland in 2010. Organisers have confirmed an agreement with Auckland City Council, supported by Tourism Auckland, which sees the major event based in Auckland from 6 to 9 May, 2010. “We’re delighted to bring Rally New Zealand back to Auckland with the largest population base in the country,” says Chris Carr, chairman of the rally organisation... [continues]
PS: Seems WRC have promoted Auckland to Capital!
World Rally Championship - News - Rally New Zealand set for Auckland return in 2010 The next three editions of the World Rally Championship round in New Zealand will be run from a new home in the heart of the capital city, Auckland.