Focus on the Land
All rally roads lead to Gisborne . . .
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
DRIVERS are revving up for the Gisborne leg of the national rally championship this weekend.
The overall and category champions for the 2012 New Zealand championship will be decided by results of the Gisborne Vehicle Testing Waikanae Beach Holiday Park Rally Gisborne.
Since a Kaiti Hill special stage was cancelled, Reads Quay will be the nearest most people can get to the action.
Rally of New Zealand media manager Lance Hastie said the hill stage would have been raced largely in the dark.
“That made running the stage more difficult than if we’d been able to get there half an hour earlier — despite the support from the local marae and council to run the stage,” he said.
Kaiti Hill would definitely be on the cards for 2013, he said.
“It’s looking really good and everyone is really keen to get to the East Coast to check it out.”
Most of the action is happening “way out in the back blocks” this year but there are still opportunities for Gisborne fans to get a dose of the action.
The two-day New Zealand Rally Championship and Rally Gisborne begins with a ceremonial start on Friday at 5pm outside the Vehicle Testing Station in Childers Road.
The race begins on Saturday with a 7am start to lead the field through seven stages set to the west of Gisborne, including three service halts at Brunton Road.
The teams return to Gisborne for a service from 5.30pm in Reads Quay before being parked up for the night.
Day two begins at 7.30am and will head towards Tolaga Bay to cover five stages, some of which have not been used since the early 1980s.
“The majority of participants are treating it as a brand new track,” said Mr Hastie.
Following a service in Tolaga Bay from 2.05pm, the teams move on to the 23.59km Waimata Valley stage for a last chance to improve their championship placing. The event and series concludes with a ceremonial finish back at Reads Quay from 4.15pm to acknowledge the championship winners.
BACK IN THE GISBORNE RALLY: Gisborne crew Mark Toms and Jan Adair kick up the dust in last year’s rally. They will be back this weekend racing with the country’s best cars in the national championship final round. File picture
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