Crowd pleasing tradition will be revived on the city streets when international rallying returns to Rotorua next month. The opening special stage of the inaugural Paker ENZED International Rally of Rotorua on Friday September 25 will be a high speed blast around streets near the lakefront.
A "round the streets" tarmac special stage has been a feature of the Rally of New Zealand until 1992, after which world championship regulations no longer made it possible to include a tarmac stage as part of an otherwise gravel event.
Not governed by the same constraints, the organizers of the Parker ENZED International Rally of Rotorua have seized the opportunity to "bring rallying to the people".
Tourism Rotorua has confirmed sponsorship for the "City of Rotorua Super Stage", committing their support to the new event which the return of International rallying to the region.
The field will run in reverse order (the top seeded crews last) as a preliminary to two days of action on forestry and public roads in the Bay of Plenty.
The stage will use sections of Tutanekai and Rangiuru Streets, Lake Road, Pukaki and Whakaue Streets with the first crews starting at 7.00pm.
With the Friday evening Super Stage Action completed the field will tackle 12 stages on Saturday September 26 with Service Parks regrouping the field in Kawerau, Murupara and back in Rotorua.
On Sunday a further six stages complete the event with a run to Kawerau and back to a mid-afternoon finish ceremony in Rotorua.
The event, jointly organized by the Rotorua and Hamilton Car Clubs in partnership with Rally New Zealand Ltd, is penultimate round of the 1998 Tasman Cup Series and also the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship.
International interest has already been confirmed with two Japanese crews having filed entries and several others requesting information from the organizers.