The 2010 Otago Rally will include a number of changes, including brand new stages, when the event kicks off in central Dunedin on Friday, April 9
As a round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, the April 10 and 11 event will also include the popular Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago, and the Allcomers Rally.
The event has attracted some of world rallying’s biggest names in recent years, including Juha Kankkunen, Hannu Mikkola, Bjorn Waldegard and Alister McRae, and a full field of some of the
world’s best drivers is once again expected.
For 2010 the rally route will start on stages in North Otago which haven’t been used since 2001, including the famous Danseys Pass – a classic sub-Alpine road that was once used in the Rally of New Zealand.
According to event Clerk of Course, Norman Oakley, the 2010 Otago Rally will be a real test of driver and machine.
"The event will be a return to the way things were done years ago, with no centralised service parks, longer touring stages, and with a real emphasis on adventure,” Oakley said.
“We’ll return to the Middlemarch area for stages that were used in 2009, but we’ve also included new stages such as Ritchie Road and Shag Valley Back Road that have never been used by the event before.”
However, Oakley points out that the traditional, and signature Otago Rally stages, will return as well.
“World class stages such as Kuri Bush, Whare Flat, Waipori Gorge and the tarmac super special stage will once again form part of the two-day route as well,” he added.
In all, the 2010 rally will offer competitors 16 special stages covering 265 kilometres of competitive driving, with a total event distance of 780 kilometres.
A one-pass reconnaissance will be available to all competitors prior to the rally, however the distance involved in 2010 means that the recce will take place on the afternoon of Thursday, April 8, and on Friday, April 9.
The rally proper will get under way with a ceremonial start at the historic Dunedin Railway Station on the Friday night, before the rally hits the gravel stages early on Saturday morning.