Eric Thompson: Rallying cry !

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Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala in the Ford World Rally car Fiesta RS WRC car.  Photo / Greg Bowker
Finland's Jari-Matti Latvala in the Ford World Rally car Fiesta RS WRC car. Photo / Greg Bowker

Watching international rallying at its best is to look on as mechanical beasts do the tango on dirt. When a car in the hands of a mere mortal is pushed to its limits on a gravel road, said driver will soon discover a vehicle has the aerodynamics of a brick as it flies off the road heading into a gully.

The truly gifted, and by that I mean the world's best rally drivers, have graced us in New Zealand with their presence and over the next three days will demonstrate just how it's done.

The Brother Rally New Zealand, round seven of the FIA World Rally Championship, shakes, rattles and rolls into action today just south of Raglan. We suggest to anyone with more than a passing interest in watching gifted athletes at the top of their game, get your butt out to at least one stage.

You might think you can drive, but you have no idea of the car control needed to pilot a WRC car at up to 200km/h sideways, backwards, in the air and any other position you can think of.

Professionals describe the skill set as managing the stage - controlled bloody bedlam more like.

Don't miss this opportunity. It is being mooted that this could be the last time the WRC comes to New Zealand, although that threat is nothing new.

Even in this age of the Global Village, we're too far away from Europe - apparently.

Today sees some of the most spectacular racing of the weekend, with drivers twice asked to negotiate the signature stage, the Whaanga Coast, south of Raglan.

- NZ Herald

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