New Zealand fights for WRC slot

The New Zealand government has stepped in to try and help Rally New Zealand organisers to retain their place on the World Rally Championship calendar beyond the end of this season

New Zealand fights for WRC slot

A quarter of a million dollars has come from the Wellington government offices of the Major Events Development Fund to make sure May's 40th running of Rally New Zealand goes well - and maintains the pressure on WRC promoter North One Sport to keep the Auckland-based event on the schedule for 2011.

North One Sport's initial calendar included New Zealand as a reserve event, but that was rejected by the World Motor Sport Council earlier this month, raising Kiwi hopes of a reprieve when the FIA announces the calendar - following a three-way debate between FIA president Jean Todt, North One Sport and WRC Commission president Morrie Chandler - on April 16.

Chris Carr, chairman of Rally New Zealand, said: "We are grateful to Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and others for their consideration of the situation where New Zealand's longest-running world championship event was at risk.

"With today's announcement, we extend our thanks to Mr Brownlee and Major Events Development Fund officials for their confirmation of the funding. We will apply these funds to making the 2010 event even stronger and more attractive to the worldwide audience of more than 50 million television viewers expected to watch Rally New Zealand when it takes place in Auckland from 6 to 9 May this year."

Carr says that while the funding will help the organisation develop and enhance its case to stay on the FIA WRC calendar, there is still no guarantee that WRC promoters North One Sport will confirm Rally New Zealand as a round of the global series in 2011 or in future years.

"The funding will definitely help, but ultimately the decision is up to the WRC's commercial promoters North One Sport and the FIA," he acknowledged.

"The best thing New Zealanders can do to help us secure Rally New Zealand as a round of the World Rally Championship in the future is get out and watch the event this year. Come along, be a spectator at one of the many free and paid spectator vantage points, and show the WRC promoters that we're passionate about this iconic event."

This year, Rally New Zealand is based in Auckland with several key elements located within the city's boundaries, such as the start ceremony at Viaduct Harbour, the service park on Queens Wharf and the rally headquarters at SkyCity Auckland.

The rally route takes competitors both north and south of the city - Friday's route runs through the Whangarei and Kaipara districts, while Saturday and Sunday's stages are in the Franklin, North Waikato and Raglan districts.

shares
comments
Rautenbach plans 2011 WRC return

Previous article

Rautenbach plans 2011 WRC return

Next article

Ford tests Focus engine in Fiesta WRC

Ford tests Focus engine in Fiesta WRC
Load comments
How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain Plus

How Neuville stole the show from Ogier vs Evans slugfest in Spain

While all pre-event chat focused on the two World Rally Championship title fighters, their closest challenger charged into the spotlight on Rally Spain. Thierry Neuville's star turn and another strong drive from Elfyn Evans in his fight with Sebastien Ogier made for an intriguing event as the 2021 campaign nears its crunch point

WRC
Oct 18, 2021
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021