Kiwi world rally champion Tony Sircombe is really coming home for this next week's Propecia Rally New Zealand.
Sircombe is the co-driver for current Production Car World Rally Champion Toshi Arai (Japan) and while they cannot retain their crown, Sircombe has special reason to look forward to the event to be staged in and around Hamilton from 16-19 November.
He is born and raised in the Waikato and his parents still live in Otorohanga, which is on the doorstep of the new roads to be used for Propecia Rally New Zealand.
Sircombe learned his trade on the rally roads around the Waitomo and Otorohanga area which will be used for the first time on the opening day of Propecia Rally New Zealand.
"I'm really looking forward to this year's Propecia Rally New Zealand because in my opinion it is a more traditional route with the new stages in the Waitomo-Otorohanga and Port Waikato areas," Sircombe said from his base in London.
"The Waitomo-Otorohanga stages on leg one are on my hometown doorstep and it will be great to be able to relive some old memories of rallying over those roads.
"The roads are enjoyable to drive and challenging so it should make for good competition."
While the stages in the Port Waikato area are new for all of the international drivers, Sircombe first plied his trade there nearly a quarter of a century ago.
"In 1982 I competed over the Port Waikato stage in what was my first WRC event."
This year will be Sircombe's 82nd WRC rally.
"The stage then was run in reverse and I remember a stage delay and I ended up chatting with Michele Mouton and Fabrizia Pons who were driving the all concurring Audi Quattro."
Sircombe is also glowing about the other stages particularly the opening day test of the 43.88km special stage.
"The Te Koraha stage will be a decisive test for the competitors and could make a big difference to the end result of the rally."
Sircombe is also looking forward to a return to the Te Akau stages in northern Waikato.
"The re-entry of the Te Akau stages is a positive step. They are faster than the southern stages and very challenging because they have a hard base road that you must have 100 percent confidence on to get the best performance."
Sircombe believes the stages in the Raglan area on the final day will prove decisive.
"Whaanga Coast could well make the difference between winning and losing. I know because last year we lost the lead on the final stage to Xavier Pons to finish second."
Arai and Sircombe are currently fifth on the driver standings for the Production Car World Championship, with top Kiwis Richard Mason and Chris West also given guest starts in the PWRC class
For further information on Propecia Rally New Zealand checkout the website www.rallynz.org.nz