With Auckland now confirmed as the 2010 home-base for Rally New Zealand, the local round of the FIA World Rally Championship, officials are considering the route for the four-day event which takes places from 6 to 9 May next year
Thursday 6 May sees the WRC drivers and crews gather in Auckland city for the ceremonial start, says Rally New Zealand’s clerk of course Willard Martin, who spends months planning the details of the rally’s route and liaising with the councils, residents and volunteer organisations.
“The world motorsport governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile or FIA, has provided new guidelines for event organisers that involve taking the rally ‘to the people’. So, rather than having one central service park from which the WRC crews must drive and return to between groups of two or three stages, we are returning to a rally structure used a few years ago with what we call ‘remote service parks,” explains Martin.
“Another change for next year is that we can run both tarmac and gravel stages, which gives us flexibility to include some tarmac stages, if we decide to.”
With the rally headquarters, a main service park and Parc Ferme, essentially a secure overnight location for the cars, in central Auckland, teams can also service their cars at the remote service parks on each of the three days.
“This negates the need, in the middle of the day, to return to central Auckland from the regions where the actual rally stages are taking place.
“To date, we have established that the teams will head north on Friday 7 May, the first day of rally action, where we will use a number of roads between Maungaturoto and Whangarei.”
Martin points out the exact roads have not been confirmed at this point, as he is still working with the relevant organisations and residents to establish the best possible route.
“The remote service park will be at the Whangarei Quayside Town Basin, making a popular easy-to-access attraction for people north of Auckland.
“Saturday 8 May will see the crews head to the Franklin district to use many of the roads we’ve used for Rally New Zealand over the past three years while the headquarters was at Mystery Creek Events Centre outside Hamilton. The location of the remote service park in this area is still to be confirmed.”
The event’s final day, Sunday 9 May, takes in the iconic stages around the spectacular Raglan coastline with our remote service park at the Raglan airfield.
“Then crews return to Auckland for the official ceremonial finish celebrations in central Auckland.
"All in all, we’ll see four action-packed days that take the WRC crews and the numerous associated photographers and TV crews from Whangarei in the north to Raglan in the south, all sending imagery of New Zealand and Auckland to the more than 50 million viewers expected to watch coverage of Rally New Zealand in 2010.”
Rally New Zealand takes place from 6 to 9 May 2010 and, depending on the final schedule for the 2010 FIA World Rally Championship, is expected to be the fifth round of a 13-round series.