An integral part of running the Brother Rally New Zealand are the community groups through the Northland, Auckland and Raglan areas that will benefit financially from the 21-24 June running of the World Rally Championship (WRC) event.
The volunteer army exceeds 1800 individuals spread across the regions helping run what will be the seventh round on the 2012 WRC calendar. From consultation with residents along the rally route to marshalling spectators and operating food stalls, each group gets a share of the collected ticket sales says event sporting manager Willard Martin.
"They are each responsible for delivering letters and liaising with those affected by the closing of the roads to providing marshals for the start finish and road intersection points on the stages. In return the event donates 50% of our spectator income from ticket sales to the community group, of which they administer and allocate funding to.
"The effect of that is they raise funds by bringing fresh income from outside the district rather than by traditional community based sources. Each year it amounts to a very very significant sum they apportion to support the likes of the local volunteer fire brigade, St John ambulance stations, school activities and getting kids to programmes like the spirit of adventure.
"Plus they also get funds from the car parking donations taken from using a local farmer's property near the spectator points and the food stalls they operate.
Covering the opening eight special stages held on Friday 22 June over roads in the Raglan and Te Akau districts is handled by volunteers from the Raglan community trust.
Saturday's seven stages in the Kaipara, Whangarei and Northland catchment are handled by the Maungaturoto co-operative. Having been involved with the event for over a decade, they also assist with the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship round that is also run by Rally New Zealand in their area.
Sunday's stages held north of Auckland are being looked after by several groups including the Auhuroa School near Warkworth.
"Having volunteers do any job is always a big ask – particularly when the fans are so passionate about getting the best vantage point. We value their commitment to be out there in all conditions to make sure the event runs to time and safely," adds Martin.
Featuring eight-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb from France, the rally field includes drivers from a total of 22 countries. Of the 44 teams, 11 are New Zealand based with a further 26 competing in the subsidiary Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Trophy Rally – that caters for cars no longer eligible for international category competition.
Fans get a chance to meet the star WRC drivers at an autograph signing session this Sunday 17 June, being held at the Rally Family Day inside the Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland. Then on the Monday the competitors begin event reconnaissance over the roads to be used in the rally.
Following shakedown and the qualifying stage being held on the Thursday morning 21 June the cars will participate in a parade down Queen Street at 4.30pm. That will be followed by a ticketed welcome function to officially open the event where the WRC drivers will select their starting positions based on their qualifying stage times. A new MotorExpo and FanZone will operate inside rally headquarters at the Viaduct Events Centre throughout Friday 22 June to Sunday 24 June.
Entry is free and alongside great vehicle displays and interactive entertainment, fans can watch the only big screen television showing live rally footage from out on the course. Numerous prime and other spectator viewing areas offer excellent opportunities to watch the high speed action in person across all three days of the event. Sunday's action includes the free-for-everyone Auckland Domain super special stage before the ceremonial finish at 3:30pm near the Viaduct Events Centre on Auckland's waterfront.
Detailed spectator and ticket information and current news is available on the event website www.rallynz.org.nz