A 54-year-old rally driver has died after his car hit a tree during a Hanmer Forest rally today.
A 23-year-old co-driver has also been flown to hospital and is in a serious but stable condition with head and back injuries. The man was treated by St John and Westpac Rescue intensive care paramedics at the scene.
The accident happened about 1pm on a forestry road at the end of a special stage in Hanmer Forest where the Straight'n'Paint Rally Hanmer 2013 is being held.
Shayne Harris, president of MotorSport NZ, expressed his sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of the crash victims.
This is the first time the rally has run in four years with the 2010 event being cancelled after the first Christchurch earthquake and the subsequent two because of snow.
The 2013 Straight'n'Paint Rally Hanmer is comprised of 66 km divided into seven stages, covering forest roads and the famous concrete bottom ford.
The event is aimed at novice drivers competing in their first rally.
The accident is being investigated by MotorSport NZ officials. MotorSport NZ general manager Brian Budd said they couldn't comment any further while an investigation into the crash was ongoing.