Motorsport: Key WRC promoter in NZ for Legends of Speed dinner

By Dale Budge

Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC Great Britain. Photo / Getty Images
Hayden Paddon during the Shakedown of the WRC Great Britain. Photo / Getty Images

Tomorrow night the biggest names in New Zealand motorsport will come together at a gala dinner in Auckland to celebrate the success the current crop of stars are having on the world stage but one key guest will carry some extra attention.

The Legends of Speed dinner features stars like Scott Dixon, Hayden Paddon, Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber, Shane van Gisbergen and the like and will raise money for the Elite Academy of Motorsport as well as heling fund the attempt to get Rally New Zealand back on the World Rally Championship calendar from 2018.

WRC promoter Oliver Ciesla will be in attendance and officials will be showing him around New Zealand as well as trying to impress him with their plans for a potential WRC event run out of Tauranga.

Rally New Zealand organisers won't be putting Ciesla in the limelight but behind the scenes they will be hoping he's impressed with his short visit.

"We are taking him to Tauranga for a few days to show him all the infrastructure and rally roads," Rally New Zealand boss Peter Johnston says. "We will fly him around the rally roads in a helicopter.

"We are going to show him what New Zealand is about and what are roads are about.

"We will keep playing the game but we will be pushing hard to get it here in 2018."
Ciesla, a keen golfer, will also get a round at the exclusive Tara Iti golf course and spend some time in Auckland ahead of the event.

Rally New Zealand was last on the WRC calendar in 2012. Leading Kiwi driver Hayden Paddon, who drives for the factory Hyundai team, has been pushing hard for it to make a return in 2018.

Organisers hope to get an answer early next year.

- NZ Herald

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