One of the most anticipated New Zealand motorsport events in the last few years is set to take place in just under three weeks with normal entries closing this Friday (17th June).
A welcome ceremony with Iwi and Council in attendance will take place on Friday 1st July at Copthorne Bay of Islands at 7pm. The rally departs Williams Street Carpark in Paihia on Saturday 2nd at 0700, with four special stages south of Mangonui and Taipa. A sixty-minute service and lunch break sponsored by the Far North District Council in Kaitaia from 1130 will include kai and coffee trucks, a hangi and market stalls. Four further afternoon stages around Peria, Mangamuka and Oromahoe will bring the cars back to the Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Waitangi around 1555 for the rally finish.
The gravel roads of the Far-North present competitors, crews, and spectators with some of the best rally roads in New Zealand. The combination of twisty, tight, heavily cambered country roads and fast, open, flowing stages are a microcosm of everything that New Zealand rally roads are lauded internationally for.
Three Skoda Fabia WRC R5s are expected to be at the pointy end of the field with interest received from Ben Hunt (Hunt Diesel), Raana Horan (Generator Rental Services) and Kingsley Jones. Mixing up the brands is the R5 entry of Todd Bawden in his Online Contractors M-Sport factory-built Ford Fiesta R5 Evo 2.
Hoping to keep the Czech built Skodas honest is a solid field of New Zealand built, NZRC spec AP4 cars. Jack Hawkeswood (Hawkeswood Civil Toyota Yaris) is joined by 2011 Far North Rally winner Dylan Turner (L J Hooker Audi S1) and multi-time Targa winner Glenn Inkster (Mazda 2).
Local interest is in the form of the Kaitaia entries of Jay Sharp (Mobil Star Garage) and Hazely Windelborn (Haze Real Estate) who are preparing their Subaru WRXs for the event.
Far North Rally Chairman, Bob Mitchell said “With less than three weeks until the green flag drops, we are confident that this will be an exciting and successful event. We have consulted with Far North District Council, several hapu, iwi and local community groups who have been incredibly supportive. Our rally creates significant benefits to Te Tai Tokerau rūnanga, with 1200 bed nights and approximately $270,000 injected into the local economy.”
Full details of the event, including spectator information, supplementary regulations and entry forms are available at www.farnorthrally.nz.