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NZ team to contest WRC Norway event


Auckland rally driver pairing Andrew Grant and Glenn Goldring have had their entry to the 2007 World Rally event in Norway (16-18 February) accepted.

Contesting the snow event in a leased Mitsubishi Lancer EVO8 the pair are a substantial step closer to the realisation of a dream - a whole world away from the Kiwi summer.

Their first test will be in the Maramarua forest with Rally Drive New Zealand before flying to the northern hemisphere winter. Spending time in Helsinki, they will complete a two-day test before the WRC Sweden event - one week before their international debut.

Motivating Grant to action, he says it's been a long held desire:

"Ever since watching the Audi Quattro's in those snow videos, it's looked like a very special place to compete - quite sensational. So it's always been a dream to compete on snow - one day."

He then described how the dream idea came closer to reality:

"Whilst Glenn and I were travelling to do some skiing last year, we were driving up the mountain on a beautiful snow covered road in a 4WD vehicle. It was fun and we thought wow, wouldn't it be great to do it properly. We kind of made a pact that day and I think we are both amazed that we are doing it - from just a dream. But look at it now, it's come together."

"It's about the adventure; going to Scandinavia, looking at Finland, viewing the Swedish rally and then competing in a full snow event. Our aim from the start was to just go have fun, but knowing us we will want to get competitive while we are there, even though finishing is a priority."

Capable behind the wheel, both team members are accomplished in their respective driver/co-driver class.

Grant, a business owner, won the 1994 New Zealand Junior Rally Championship title, followed by taking Group-N honours at the 1995 Rally New Zealand event. Since then he has taken a number of International Speedway wins in a midget car.

Goldring, software developer, has an established history as a very focused co-driver - having directed regular driver Glenn Inkster to several rally event victories.

"This is one of those opportunities that doesn't come easy," said Goldring. "The place looks absolutely beautiful, the cars, the trees, the snow, the blue sky. To me it's just such a different event - such a novelty. How exciting, I can't wait, so many emotions!"

"The key is to really go have a good time and get a result, so we have to be quite smart and get to the end. And to do that we have so much to learn."

Leasing a car from Finland based ST Motors, they have run the likes of Kristian Sohlberg, Markku Alen, Jani Passonen, Jussi Välimäki - and now a couple of Kiwi's.

Set in a country where rally driving is a national sport, the new round to the WRC calendar is expected to have even heavier snow-fall than the traditional WRC snow event of Sweden.

Home to WRC's star brothers Petter and Henning Solberg, the Kiwi pair have been listening to any advice offered to boost their chances of finishing their maiden event outside New Zealand.

The third round in the 2007 WRC calendar, Rally Norway runs from 16th to 18th February.

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