|4 days ago||Fan Friendly Stages for Repco Rally New Zealand|
|8 days ago||Third in Finland for Paddon and Kennard|
|11 days ago||Taupo 2wd entries published|
|Taupo 2wd published|
From the start at the iconic Pukekawa Auckland Domain, to the renowned Whaanga Coast, Kaipara Hills and with the grand finale in Auckland’s coolest backyard, the Repco Rally New Zealand will offer international drivers a challenge like no other.
Organisers of the 32nd Rally New Zealand today released details of the stages that will make up the 11th round of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in September.
The Rally route comprises 17 stages with 275kms of racing over four days from 29 September to 2 October. The event’s central hub will be at Auckland’s waterfront with a fan zone at the Repco Rally Village and Service Park, spanning Silo Park, Wynyard Point and Halsey Wharf.
Repco Rally New Zealand will kick off with a Super Special Stage at Pukekawa Auckland Domain on Thursday 29 September, featuring an exciting 1.4km test that will showcase Auckland City to a huge worldwide audience.
With the support of the Auckland Domain Committee and Tātaki Auckland Unlimited, the Super Special Stage will be free to attend and will be the first time kiwi fans can see the new WRC Rally1 hybrid cars in action.
The Auckland Domain has enjoyed a long association with the event, having successfully hosted rounds of the World Rally Championship from 1986 to 1990 and then most recently in 2010 and 2012.
Mayor Phil Goff says the World Rally Championship will be welcomed by fans and will provide a boost to businesses in the region.
“With a central hub and fan zone in downtown Auckland and racing on some of the region’s most iconic courses, the World Rally Championship will draw thousands of visitors to Auckland from New Zealand and around the world,” he says.
“For the first time, this year’s event will also incorporate the sport’s move to new hybrid cars running on 100 percent sustainable and renewable synthetic fuel, signalling a new commitment to sustainability and reducing emissions.
“With an expected global television audience of more than 70 million fans, The World Rally Championship will shine an international spotlight on our region and provide a welcome boost for tourism, hospitality and accommodation businesses that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
After the buzz of the opening night, Repco Rally New Zealand will head south to the Waikato for six special stages, highlighted with two passes through Whaanga Coast near Raglan, one of the world’s greatest rally stages.There will also be a double pass of Te Akau North and Te Akau South to complete an epic Friday that features 156km of racing that will go a long way towards determining the final outcome of the event.
On Saturday 1 October, the competitors will be back in Auckland for the first time in 10 years to take on the brilliant, cambered corners of Kaipara Hills, followed by Puhoi and Komokoriki stages.
The final day comprises a double run on a new stage at Whitford Forest Te Maraunga Waiho along with two passes through the remarkable purpose-built 6.5km stage at Jack’s Ridge Haunui.
The Jack’s Ridge Haunui stage, built by owner Andrew Hawkeswood on his property in Whitford, will complete the rally as the Wolf Power Stage.
The Jack’s Ridge Haunui venue will provide unique stadium-like viewing for fans who can watch the cars battle for valuable world championship points and where the champion of Repco Rally New Zealand will be crowned.
“It is a remarkable collection of the most famous stages that have given Rally New Zealand the mantle as having the world’s best flowing gravel roads,” said Stuart Barnett, Clerk of the Course for Repco Rally New Zealand.
“Add to that an opening Super Special Stage at Auckland Domain, the spectacular stages north and south of the city, and an exciting spectacle at Jacks Ridge, and this promises to be an event offering a range of spectacular viewing opportunities.
“Repco Rally New Zealand could not be a better advertisement for Tāmaki Makaurau where a global television audience of more than 70 million fans will see the diverse landscapes of our region.
”Fans attending the World Rally Championship round in Auckland this September can purchase tickets or hospitality for all days of the rally, including the Jack’s Ridge stage at www.rallynewzealand.com.
The daily rally route is:
Thursday, 29 September:
Shakedown, Inland Road: 9am
Super Special Stage 1: Pukekawa Auckland Domain, 1.4km, 6:08pm
Friday, 30 September:
Stage 2: Whaanga Coast 1, 29.07km, 8.33am
Stage 3: Te Akau South 1, 31.02km, 10.11am
Stage 4: Te Akau North 1, 18.20km, 11.14am
Stage 5: Whaanga Coast 2, 29.07km, 2.22pm
Stage 6: Te Akau South 3, 31.02km, 4pm
Stage 7: Te Akau North, 18.20km, 5.03pm
Saturday 1 October:
Stage 8: Kaipara Hills 1, 15.83km, 8.08am
Stage 9: Puhoi 1, 22.63kmm 9:06am
Stage 10: Komokoriki 1, 5.6km, 10.14am
Stage 11: Kaipara Hills 2, 15.83km, 2.08pm
Stage 12: Puhoi 2, 22.63km, 3.06pm
Stage 13: Komokoriki 2, 5.6km, 4.24pm
Sunday 2 October:
Stage 14: Whitford Forest Te Maraunga Waiho 1, 8.75km, 10.32am
Stage 15: Jack’s Ridge Haunui 1, 6.42km, 12.08pm
Stage 16: Whitford Forest Te Maraunga Waiho 2, 8.75km, 1.18pm
Stage 17: Jack’s Ridge Haunui 2, 6.42km, 3.18pm.
Kiwi rally stars Hayden Paddon and John Kennard finished Rally Finland in fourth place in the WRC2 category, but the later disqualification of original winner Teemu Suninen elevated the pair to third place in the official results and 11th overall.
Paddon was delighted with his original result, paying credit to the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team who were all with him in Finland to run the Hyundai i20 N Rally 2 car. The team took delivery of the new car at the end of June and have only contested two full rallies with it – the Latvian round of the European Rally Championship at the start of July and the just-completed Finnish World Rally Championship event. The small Kiwi team have been working hard on a series of developments to the car to bring it in line with Paddon’s preferred driving style and performance objectives.
Lining up among 17 competitors in the WRC2 category, the Kiwis got off to a steady start with a clean run through the opening super special stage and a solid run through Friday’s nine stages in the forests north-east of host city Jyväskylä to hold sixth overnight.
Paddon and Kennard went into Saturday’s stages with less than 50 seconds separating them in sixth from then-leader Suninen. Some top three times and splits on the longer stages, and a consistent, steady drive as others dropped out, saw them move into fourth position on the WRC2 leaderboard. They ended the day less than 15 seconds from third place.
Sunday’s quartet of special stages, each just over 10km in length, generally sees most competitors driving to maintain their finishing position to get to the finish. That was also Paddon’s goal, so to bring the car home in fourth was a great result for the small team from the opposite side of the world.
He described hearing the news that Suninen had been excluded as a surprise and not the way the team wanted to achieve a podium finish.
Paddon says: Initially finishing 4th we were quite happy. We had a plan for the event of setting a top-five pace which is more or less where we were at. The local drivers were very fast and times are super close. Overall, it was a good clean event. We felt much better in the car but also managed the risks to ensure we could take a damage-free car back to New Zealand. To then get promoted to P3 was a surprise; certainly not the way we want to achieve a podium but given the amount of sweat and tears we have poured into this as a small Kiwi team, it’s a result we will take.
“We have come a long way with the car since Latvia, investing so much time by the team and the car felt much better. There is still more to find but we are going in a good direction which is pleasing.
“It’s been a pleasure working with our own team in Europe over the past few weeks, something of a step into the unknown for most of them, but they have handled each challenge with professionalism. I’m super proud of our team and all the work that has gone into getting us to where we are right now.
“The team is on their way back to New Zealand now and I’m heading to Austria to prepare the car for airfreight so it will be back for Rally New Zealand at the end of September. I’m then home for ten days for some testing and development work before coming back to the UK for a round of the Tour European Rally (TER) series.”
Hyundai New Zealand CEO Andy Sinclair comments: “We could not be happier for Hayden and John and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team. This was their first competitive WRC rally since 2019, competing in a new car and running a small local team. We were really pleased with the initial P4 result, but then to receive the news that due to a disqualification they secured a podium result, well that was an unexpected cherry on top!
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO, MITO and Provident Insurance.
Keep up with news on Hayden Paddon and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/paddonrallysport.
Kiwi rally star Hayden Paddon has pressed the reset button as he and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team refocus for Rally Finland running 4 to 7 August.
After the disappointment of Paddon and others testing positive for covid at Rally Estonia early in July, the team is working hard on their development plans with the Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car to be ready for their second WRC2 event in Finland.
In Estonia, already feeling ill, Paddon was only able to complete the first morning of competition so the anticipated mileage behind the wheel of the new car was cut short.
Now recovered and based in Finland ahead of the rally, the team arranged the use of a road to complete a short test of around 50km on the last weekend of July to assist with their learning and data collection with the new car. Paddon says they were able to assess have several aspects of the car, including new suspension, that they’ve been working on. They tried various setups and, by the end of the day, he felt a lot more comfortable behind the wheel.
Finland being one of his favourite WRC events, Paddon is looking forward to returning to these iconic, fast roads he describes as a gravel rollercoaster.
A podium finish in the WRC2 category is the ideal goal, but Paddon and co-driver John Kennard know they’re up against some very fast local European competitors. They’re aiming to have a consistent pace throughout the weekend to get to the finish and maximise the opportunity to gain performance data for future improvements with the car.
Paddon says: “With Estonia being cut short, we are lacking some mileage with the new car at present and things haven’t gone exactly to plan. We introduced a small test prior to Finland to try and learn more about the car and continue our development. With a short and constructive 50km of testing, it was really good to experiment and try some new set-ups. By the end of the day I felt a lot more comfortable behind the wheel. The plan is to take this confidence into the weekend and see how the car performs in rally conditions, but we are certainly tracking in a good direction.
“Our efforts in developing the Rally2 car is good not only for Rally Finland, but also looking ahead towards Rally New Zealand in late September. While it was challenging to miss most of Rally Estonia, it’s all part of the process and we have to remain patient.
“Thinking of Finland, we’d love to target a WRC2 podium here but we’re under no illusions how difficult that will be. Not only are we still working on the feeling with the car, but the local competitors are very fast. We’re aiming for a consistent pace throughout the weekend to try and challenge the locals.
“I’m looking forward to rallying in Finland again. It’s always been one of my favourite European events – fast, flowing roads and the jumps, pretty much a gravel rollercoaster! When you get it right, it’s an amazing sensation.
“Having our own team from New Zealand here together in Europe has been comforting and enjoyable. Everyone’s been working really hard even within the constraints of our very tight budget. The main thing is we are all on the same page and, despite the disappointment of Estonia, we’re all upbeat and focused to make amends in Finland.”
Hyundai New Zealand CEO Andy Sinclair comments: “It was unfortunate Hayden and the team were affected by Covid during Rally Estonia, so we along with the whole motorsport community here in New Zealand, are looking forward to seeing Hayden and John complete Rally Finland.
“Time in the seat in Europe and getting the car set up right for Hayden is crucial to our primary focus, being Rally New Zealand.”
Rally Finland gets underway on Thursday 4 August with the exciting mixed-surface Harju street stage in front of big crowds in the centre of host city Jyväskylä, which is about 270 km north of Helsinki. Friday’s action comprises a repeated loop of four special stages in the forests north-east of the city and ends with a shorter version of the previous evening’s Harju street stage. Saturday’s marathon leg features 150.30km of action, almost half the rally’s competitive distance, clustered around famous rollercoaster roads near Jämsä. Sunday sees competitors tackle two stages twice including the iconic big jumps of Ruuhimäki. The 22 stages offer 322.61km in a total route of 1427.47km.
Paddon and Kennard are among 17 competitors entered for the WRC2 category
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO, MITO and Provident Insurance.
Ben Hunt has survived a throttle issue and some treacherous conditions to win the Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay and boost his chances in the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.
Hunt struggled earlier in the day to match the pace of Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen but inherited the lead on stage four when the latter slid off the road.
The two-time NZRC champion once again showcased his ability to drive to the conditions as he safely brought the Skoda New Zealand Fabia Rally2 evo home with a 42.4 second advantage over the impressive Ari Pettigrew.
He heads to the double-header Repco Rally New Zealand rounds trailing Hayden Paddon by 24 points.
Pettigrew, in his first full season in a 4WD car overcame a drive shaft drama on the opening loop to consistently set impressive stage times in the Manukau Auto Centre Holden Barina AP4. He lies third in the championship standings – 22 points further adrift.
Matt Summerfield picked up his second podium in succession to finish third in the Top Line Mitsubishi Mirage AP4, taking advantage of a final stage spin by Raana Horan.
Horan took home fourth place in the Generator Rental Services Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo while Jack Hawkeswood (Toyota Gazoo NZ Yaris AP4) edged local star Grant Blackberry (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) for fifth place.
Van Gisbergen wowed the field with his remarkable pace on the opening three stages of the day – winning all three in his Supercheap Auto Skoda Fabia R5. But he slid off the road in a very tricky piece of road early in stage four. In trying to get reverse, he damaged the gearbox and had to temporarily withdraw before his team put in a spare gearbox at Service and he was able to finish the event.
Robbie Stokes (Team Hutchinson Ford Fiesta AP4) made a mistake on the second stage of the day and dropped a heap of time trying to get his car back on the road. He set a blistering time on stage six to win the Power Stage before crashing heavily on the final stage of the day as the rain returned.
Anthony Jones claimed overall 2WD honours in his Ford Escort as he comfortably won the head-to-head battle with Shane Murland (Ford Escort) in the Historic class.
Dylan Thomson (Ford Fiesta) grabbed victory in the NZRC 2WD class after inheriting first place when Jordan Grant (Suzuki Swift) slid off on mud strewn tarmac on the final stage. Thomson was second overall 2WD as well. Charlie Evans had been in a ding-dong battle with Thomson but had to retire his Honda Civic late in the day.
Brent Taylor cruised to victory in the Open 2WD class in his Toyota FT86 – good enough for third overall 2WD.
David Sievers (Subaru) continued his strong season with victory in the Rally Challenge 4WD class as he led home Dave Ollis (Subaru) and Bryn Smith (Mitsubishi).
Dan Alexander won the Rally Challenge 2WD category in his Toyota Starlet, finishing ahead of Sam Byrne (Mitsubishi Lancer) and Jono Shapley (Toyota Vitz).
The championship takes a two-month break now until the double-header round at Repco Rally New Zealand in late September.
The 2022 New Zealand Rally Championship is proudly supported by Brian Green Property Group, Dunlop New Zealand, HELLA New Zealand, and Omega Car Rentals.
Live streaming of the 2022 season will be available via facebook.com while end of day highlights will be accessible via the www.nzrc.tv YouTube channel.
Some of the debate surrounding the balance of power at the front of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship field will be settled at this weekend’s fourth round in Hawke’s Bay.
The addition of Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen at Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay has thrown a cat among the pigeons and got the rally community talking, trying to work out where the uber-talented racer fits into the pecking order.
After impressing at the City of Auckland Rally in late 2020 and following that up by winning the Battle of Jacks Ridge, Van Gisbergen showed it was no fluke by taking a comfy win at the Far North Rally three weeks ago.
However, championship regulars Ben Hunt and Raana Horan both had minor dramas that dropped them out of contention, so it has been the hot topic of debate among rally fans the past few weeks as to where Van Gisbergen sits on paper.
Hunt will be the first car on the road in his Skoda New Zealand Fabia Rally2 evo but will have his mind on the championship, where he stands to make some ground to WRC star Hayden Paddon, who misses this event while competing in Europe.
The super-fast Robbie Stokes will look to put a troubled season behind him and will not have to worry about championship ramifications in his Team Hutchinson Ford AP4.
Horan should feature prominently in the battle at the front in his new Generator Rental Services Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo while Van Gisbergen starts fourth in his Super Cheap Auto Skoda Fabia R5.
The chasing pack cannot be discounted either – Matt Summerfield showed renewed speed at last month’s Rally South Canterbury in his Impact Mitsubishi Mirage AP4. Add to that the natural talent of Ari Pettigrew (Manukau Auto Centre Holden Barina AP4), Todd Bawden (Online Contractors Ford Fiesta R5 Mk II), Phil Campbell (Roofing Store Ford Fiesta AP4), Jack Hawkeswood (Total Toyota Yaris AP4), Andy Martin (Carbonworks Volkswagen Polo R5) and Duncan McCrostie (Force Motorsport Mazda AP4).
Haydn Mackenzie will debut his Albany Toyota Yaris AP4 at the event while Hawke’s Bay local Grant Blackberry will be a popular addition in his Mitsubishi EVO X and could be a dark horse on roads he knows well and will suit the older generation car.
Jordan Grant (Suzuki) and Dylan Thomson (Ford) continue their battle in the NZRC 2WD class while Bryn Jones will keep them honest.
Brent Taylor (Toyota FT86) returns to spark the Open 2WD battle where Dan Haines (Ford Escort) and Dave Strong (Honda Jazz) will continue their season-long battle.
Anthony Jones and Shane Murland (both in Ford Escorts) will need big points in the Historic 2WD class with current leader John Silcock skipping the round.
The likes of Dave Sievers (Subaru), Matt Adams (Mitsubishi) and Bryn Smith (Mitsubishi) will look to upstage the impressive Jeff Ward (Subaru) in the Rally Challenge 4WD class while Daniel Alexander (Toyota Starlet) and David Taylor (Honda Civic) return to boost a 2WD class that also includes Jono Shapley (Toyota Vitz), Sam Byrne (Mitsubishi Lancer), Zeal Jones (Subaru) and Jeff Torkington (Toyota MR2).
Other than COVID having an impact on entries, one thing to keep an eye on will be the weather and the impact big swells in the Cook Strait have had on ferry crossings for South Island based competitors.
The Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay started with a ceremonial opening at the Sound Shell in downtown Napier on Friday night before a day of action south of the city on Saturday.
The memory of one of Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand rallying’s favourite sons Malcolm Stewart will live on at this weekend’s Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay.
Stewart’s old Mitsubishi EVO IV will contest the fourth round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, sporting the number 1 that Stewart ran in that very car with co-driver Donna Elder 22 years ago.
It will be driven by Andrew Elder, with Donna back in the co-driver’s seat and a number of Stewart’s old service crew will assist with the car on the weekend.
Stewart, the 1983 national champion, sadly passed away after a battle with motor neurone disease in 2009 and the pre-event start on Friday night will coincide with the anniversary of his passing.
Wife Sue has recently purchased a pair of Stewart’s old cars, including the EVO IV, and was only too keen to see his legacy honoured at his home event in the Hawke’s Bay.
“Sentimental – no other reasons,” Sue Stewart said of reacquiring the EVO IV and EVO VI cars.
“They were in good condition and there is a lot of history with those cars. I’ll save them death from someone else’s hands.
“It is nice to have them back. The crew were stoked to see them again.”
When Sue first had the idea of entering one of the cars in this year’s local event, she had thought of running as a zero car but organisers suggested they take the vacant number one that had been set aside for Hayden Paddon, who will miss the event due to European commitments, and re-live what happened over two decades earlier.
“It was a real coincidence that situation,” Sue Stewart explained. “It was very nice of the Hawke’s Bay Car Club to honour Malcolm that way.”
Sue hopes to enter the car in the upcoming WRC Repco Rally New Zealand.
Her late husband has contested more Rally New Zealand events than any other dating back to his first in 1972.
Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay begins with a ceremonial start in downtown Napier tonight before the competitive action takes place across Saturday with new stages south of the city.
Hayden Paddon, John Kennard and the Hyundai New Zealand Rally team were pleased with the results of their first event with the brand-new Hyundai i20 N Rally2 car in Latvia and are now focused on their preparation for Rally Estonia.
The Kiwi rally team contested Rally Latvia, a round of the FIA European Rally Championship which ran 1 to 3 July, having taken delivery of the new Rally2 car just two days prior. With no opportunity to test the car themselves, Paddon’s first drive was at the rally’s shakedown stage.
Paddon and Kennard showed plenty of speed throughout the two-day rally, setting several top three stage times in a field of 200+ cars despite the car not being set up the way Paddon would prefer. While a spin on Saturday dropped them down the overall standings for the final result of sixth overall, Paddon regards the test rally as a success due to the amount of information about the car the team was able to gather to be ready for future events.
The European contingent of the Hyundai Rally New Zealand team is now based in Estonia and has seven days to prepare the car for the next event, Rally Estonia running 15 to 17 July which is their first rally in the 2022 FIA World Rally2 Championship. Paddon pays credit to his hard-working team who are working on numerous elements of the car and its setup, including its fresh, new Kiwi-inspired black and white livery.
Paddon says the aim for Estonia is to continue with their own goals of learning the Hyundai i20 N Rally 2 car inside and out, preparing it to better suit Paddon’s preferences. The goals are simple: make the most of every competitive stage to finish the rally and gain more experience of the car and for the team.
Paddon has competed in Estonia once before in 2018, finishing second when the rally was a WRC candidate event with former co-driver Seb Marshall in a Hyundai i20 Coupe WRC car.
He’s looking forward to more of the narrow, high speed gravel stages typical of these Eastern European rallies in Latvia and Estonia, and knows these events demand a high level of commitment from the driver to be competitive.
Paddon’s quotes: “Latvia was a successful event for us. Despite the result not looking great on paper, we achieved everything we set out to do which was to learn the new car and have a base to work forward from. We achieved that and have learnt we also have a lot of work to get the car setup for my driving style. But it has now given us a direction to work in and will help us be better prepared for Estonia and beyond.
“With Rally Estonia, the goal is essentially the same as Latvia, looking at it as a test rally where we focus on ourselves to ensure we take positive steps forward with the feeling with the car and competitiveness. We have no result expectations or goals, simply to finish the rally and gain more experience of the car and for the team.
“The roads are like Latvia in the way that they are very fast, narrow in places and sandy. High levels of commitment are needed to be competitive.
“The team has been working really hard with just seven days to turn the car around from Latvia which includes all our usual pre-rally prep and also changing the setup of many components. It’s an exciting time for our small and dedicated team as we use this event in Estonia and Rally Finland in August as part of our preparation for a full WRC2 campaign next year.”
Paddon and Hyundai New Zealand Rally appreciate the support of Hyundai New Zealand, Mitre 10 Trade, Z Energy, Makita, Bailey Caravans, Ben Nevis Station, Winmax Brakes, Gravity Internet, Pak N’ Save, Bars Bugs, Pirelli, OMP/Racer Products, Mike Greer Homes, Bartercard, Accessman, Sign It Signs, Carters Tyre Service, ETCO and Provident Insurance.
After the troubles of the pandemic, hopes are high that the Otago Rally will be back better than ever on April 1 and 2, 2023 – and that's no April Fool's Day joke.
Organisers of the Dunedin-based rally have confirmed the date for next year’s event, which, being the week before Easter, will enable rally crews and fans to combine the rally with a holiday on Dunedin’s beautiful Otago Peninsula.
As usual, the rally will be the opening round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, and will incorporate the Otago Classic Rally and an Allcomers event.
It is expected that the 2023 Otago Rally will be the first since 2019 where international crews will be able to contest the event, which is already generating much excitement.
Beginning with a ceremonial start in Dunedin's Octagon on Friday night, March 31, the all-daylight Otago Rally will be held over two days of competition with approximately 280 kilometres of special stages.
Day one is expected to be held north of Dunedin on roads not used since 2019, with day two based out of the lakeside village of Waihola.
"The 2023 event will be a combination of classic Otago stages such as Waipori Gorge and Kuri Bush, plus fast flowing Oamaru public roads and a likely return to the challenging roads of the Berwick Forest," Rally Manager, Norman Oakley, said.
"Although many of the stages will be familiar, the organising team are proud that each event is unique with different combinations of roads."
The popular tarmac super stage in downtown Dunedin is also expected to make a return after COVID restrictions have forced its omission in past years.
Importantly, a two-pass recce will be available for all competitors who wish to write their own pace notes for the rally.
The rally will conclude with one of the season's highlights, the prize giving at the Dunedin Town Hall.
"After a long three years, we're looking forward to welcoming back our friends from offshore," Oakley added.
More information on the 2023 Otago Rally will be available soon.
Todd Bawden and Paul (Barge) Burborough have got their 2022 rally season back on track with a 3rd place Finish in their ONLINE CONTRACTORS Ford Fiesta R5 MkII at the Far North Rally in the Bay of islands last Saturday.
However achieving that podium result has been anything but straightforward for the Hamilton businessmen and their Team Online Racing, after a harrowing and character-building couple of months where unexpected technical issues led firstly to a serious transmission failure at the International Rally of Whangarei.
Then they had a high-speed rollover during a rallysprint/test session which caused superficial, but significant, panel damage just days before the car was due to leave for Timaru and the NZRC South Canterbury Rally.
“Following our solid debut run to 6th at Otago, we were feeling confident of a repeat performance going to Whangarei, but the gearbox problem sidelined us before we’d had a chance to even get warmed up,” said a frustrated Todd. “Then, completely out of the blue, the jammed throttle at the rallysprint was one of the scariest moments I’ve ever had in a rally or even a race car.”
“We did the recce in the Fiesta and the throttle was stuck at 4,000 RPM,” Todd explained.
“So we jumped in the road car and carried on and when we started the rally car again it was idling at 2,500 RPM and we thought it was OK so we took off in Launch Mode and got into the stage. It has a lot of power and as we were going down a straight I said to Barge that it didn’t feel quite right. We got to the end of the straight and the Back turned around on me and it just took off. We left the road at 140kph and it flipped twice – just touched the ground once and then landed on its wheels. It certainly could have been a whole lot bigger..”
So the race to get the car repaired was on BIG Time as the crash happened on the Sunday and it had to be on its way south before dawn on the following Wednesday morning.
An unbelievable effort by all the ONLINE RACING Team had the car on the inter-island ferry just 72 hours after the incident right on schedule on the Wednesday afternoon.
Unfortunately South Canterbury proved the old adage of things happening in Threes as Todd and Barge fell foul of cold tyres in the frosty conditions on the second early morning stage just out of Waimate.
“We were right on it in the super-fast short opening stage,” said Barge, “but a k [kilometre] into Stage 2 we got a bit out of shape and had a spin.
“We both felt it was going to be pretty innocuous and mostly annoying with the lost time at worst, but unfortunately the car decided otherwise and toppled over onto it’s roof in the middle of the road.
“In hindsight getting the car back onto it’s wheels probably did more damage than the actual rollover, but that’s not uncommon when the priority is to get the road clear for the following competitors. “We were still able to drive the car out of the stage at a reasonable pace, but the windscreen was badly broken, so Todd’s view was too severely compromised if we had tried to carry on any further.
“After the awesome effort the guys put in to get us down south, we were much more upset for them than we were for ourselves,” concluded an understandably disappointed Barge.
So it was back to their Hamilton base to strip and rebuild the car for a second time in a month, but at least this time they had 10 days instead of just 3 to get ready for the Far North Rally…
“We were determined to ‘Get Back on the Horse’ as quickly as possible and as ONLINE STABILISERS was also an associate event sponsor, it was important we do everything we could to be there,” said Todd.
Once again the ONLINE RACING Team was pressed back into hours of effort as parts were either acquired or beaten back into shape to get FORDR5 restored to its usual pristine condition.
“AWS Graphics and Red Star Signs did an amazing job designing and fitting its new clothes in a matter of hours, so securing a podium finish was the least Barge and I could do for everyone to go some small way to say ‘Thanks’ for everyone’s efforts in getting us back out there so quickly,” Todd said.
“So once again we were on our way to a rally on schedule and this time in total agreement that, with this being a non-championship rally, we would treat it as an 8 stage risk-free test session to get back to being comfortable in the car and to make sure everything was working as it should.
“However it was only once back behind the wheel in the opening stage that I realised just how much these three incidents had affected my [driving] confidence and, as our first couple of stage times show, we were way off the pace of our usual closest rivals.
“I started to come right as the morning stages progressed and by the finish we were much closer to our normal pace, and grabbing 3rd Place in the last stage was very satisfying and a great pressure release.
“So now we can turn our attention to another bay rally, this time based in Napier on July 23rd, feeling a lot better and a lot more relaxed, happy in the knowledge that all the Team has to do over the next two weeks is clean it, give it an oil change and send it..,” concluded a much relieved Todd.
The next rally is Round 4 of the NZRC, Rally Hawkes Bay on Saturday July 23rd.
TEAM ONLINE RACING would like to thank ONLINE CONTRACTORS, WINGER MOTORS, SALSA BAR AND GRILL PORT DOUGLAS and SRS HAMILTON for their ongoing support in making this project possible.
Supercars ace Shane van Gisbergen will contest round four of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship in Hawke’s Bay later this month.
The reigning Supercars champion will compete at Repco Rally New Zealand later in the year and has confirmed he will take part in the one-day Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay as well as this weekend’s Copthorne Bay of Island Far North Rally as preparation.
The talented Kiwi impressed in his rallying debut in 2020 when he won his class at the City of Auckland Rally before blitzing the field a day later in the Battle of Jacks Ridge.
He finished second in a round of the Australian Rally Championship earlier this year and has brought the same car – a Skoda Fabia R5 – over to New Zealand to compete in three events this year.
“It will be good experience for me,” Van Gisbergen said. “I can drive the car but I'm still very new to rallying, so I have a lot to learn still.
“I’m looking forward to it and getting myself ready for a three-day event in a few months.”
Championship coordinator Blair Bartels was delighted that Van Gisbergen had entered Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay.
“It is a real coup to have someone of Shane’s stature competing in our championship and I am sure there will be many fans in Napier out watching in a few weeks,” Bartels said.
“Shane is one of the biggest names in Kiwi sport and his entry will bring a significant level of wider interest, which is great for our championship.
“Rally fans too will be eager to see how Shane performs – his talent is unquestioned, and we have already seen that he can do things most people can only dream of despite limited rallying experience.”
Kennedy Park Resort Rally Hawke’s Bay will take place on Saturday July 23.
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