Motorsport: Rally NZ confirmed on 2017 calendar

By Dale Budge

Rally New Zealand will return to the calendar in 2017 for the first time in five years.

The event will be staged out of Tauranga in November next year as part of the New Zealand Rally Championship as work continues to be done trying to get the event back on the 2018 World Rally calendar.

NZRC coordinator Blair Read says getting the event back next year is a huge step towards their ultimate goal and will also be a massive boost to the sport domestically.

"We're really excited to have that back on the calendar for the first time since 2012," Read tells herald.co.nz. "It is great to have that title back on the line and to have that as the grand final of the New Zealand Rally Championship is very fitting.

"The Rally New Zealand trophy will be on the line. It has so much history on it with names like Sebastien Loeb, Petter Solberg and Colin McRae and the like. There are only a very select few Kiwis on their so that will be hotly contested."

The two-day event will see cars compete in a wide spread of area on both sides of Tauranga.

"Current plans are to utilize the Tauranga base with the service park to be at Baypark Stadium," Read says. "That sort of triangle of Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane - there will be a day of stages there and the other day could be somewhere around the Waikato or Coromandel area."

Rally New Zealand will be the sixth and final event on an expanded New Zealand Rally calendar next year as the Waikato-based Waitomo Rally is also added to the mix. The season kicks off in early April with the Otago Rally and features stops in Whangarei, Christchurch and Whitianga as well.

2017 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship
8-9th April - Otago Rally - Dunedin
5-7th May - International Rally of Whangarei
4th June - Lone Star Rally Canterbury - Christchurch
26th August - Goldrush Rally of Coromandel - Whitianga
14th October - Waitomo Rally - Waikato
25-26th November - Rally New Zealand - Tauranga

- NZ Herald

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