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Possum Bourne event incorporated into World Championship


Local club rally competitors will be able to measure themselves against the best in the world next year.

The second annual Possum Bourne Memorial Rally will be incorporated into next year's round of the World Rally Championship, which is set to return to the Franklin and North Waikato region after the recent success of Propecia Rally New Zealand.

Rally New Zealand Organisers have met with the Pukekohe Car Club and agreed with the plan to run the Clubmans event over the five special stages on the second day of Rally New Zealand next year. This will include the three special stages in the Port Waikato area in the morning and the two Te Akau special stages in North Waikato in the afternoon.

The annual Possum Bourne Memorial Rally, sponsored by Smartwood by Alpwood, will be run by the Pukekohe Car Club in conjunction with Rally New Zealand.

"It's a novel way for local clubmans competitors to compete over the same stages following the world rally championship field," Rally New Zealand Clerk of the Course Willard Martin said.

"It is very important for us to work with the local Franklin and North Waikato communities because their support is a key to the overall success of New Zealand's biggest annual international sporting event.

"We will incorporate the clubmans event on the Saturday of Rally New Zealand and they will run just behind the WRC event field.

"This local event is important to the local community and this is a fantastic opportunity for them to be part of an international event.

"And at the same time it is an opportunity for us to remember the contribution of Possum Bourne to our sport and tie his memory in to the region that he lived in and where he learned the sport."

Pukekohe Car Club president Dave Burnett said he was thrilled with the partnership.

"It is fantastic to have the World Rally Championship back in our region. Motorsport is an integral part of the Franklin and North Waikato district," Mr Burnett said.

"This is a wonderful outcome to include our clubmans event into the rally. I am sure it will be very popular idea with all of our competitors and will draw new entrants who want to have a crack on the same rally roads as Marcus Gronholm and Sebastien Loeb.

"Our event provides some important economic returns to our businesses and the communities of Franklin and North Waikato and coupled with Rally New Zealand will be good for us."

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