A contribution from the Government’s Major Events Development Fund will play an important role in helping Rally New Zealand secure their position on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar for 2011 and beyond
The funding - $250,000 – will go towards certain operational and promotional elements of the 40th running of Rally New Zealand in May this year.
Chris Carr, chairman of Rally New Zealand, says: “We are grateful to Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and others for their consideration of the situation where New Zealand’s longest-running world championship event was at risk.
“With today’s [19 March] announcement, we extend our thanks to Mr Brownlee and Major Events Development Fund officials for their confirmation of the funding. We will apply these funds to making the 2010 event even stronger and more attractive to the world-wide audience of more than 50 million television viewers expected to watch Rally New Zealand when it takes place in Auckland from 6 to 9 May this year.”
Carr says that while the funding will assist the organisation develop and enhance its case to stay on the FIA WRC calendar, there is still no guarantee that WRC promoters North One Sport will confirm Rally New Zealand as a round of the global series in 2011 or in future years.
“The funding will definitely help, but ultimately the decision is up to the WRC’s commercial promoters North One Sport and the FIA.
“The best thing New Zealanders can do to help us secure Rally New Zealand as a round of the World Rally Championship in the future is get out and watch the event this year. Come along, be a spectator at one of the many free and paid spectator vantage points, and show the WRC promoters that we’re passionate about this iconic event!”
This year, Rally New Zealand is based in Auckland with several key elements located within the city’s boundaries, such as the start ceremony at Viaduct Harbour, the service park on Queens Wharf and the rally headquarters at SKYCITY Auckland.
The rally route takes competitors both north and south of the city – Friday’s route runs through the Whangarei and Kaipara districts, while Saturday and Sunday’s stages are in the Franklin, North Waikato and Raglan districts. Remote service parks used on each of the three days offer fans further opportunities to see their favourite WRC stars such as Sebastién Loeb, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg. These remote service parks are located in central Whangarei, the Hampton Downs motorsport complex and the Raglan airfield.
Hampton Downs also hosts a Superstage CARnival on Saturday 8 May when the competitors make two runs of the new tarmac racing circuit and a range of other motorsport action such as the Red Bull drifting and freestyle motocross teams, car races and fan competitions.
Read more Motorsport news here.