WRC

New Zealand on 1999 Schedule

The provisional dates for next years rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship have been decided by the world governing body's Rally Commission and includes New Zealand's event in mid July. The 16 to 18 July dates for Rally New Zealand will...

The provisional dates for next years rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship have been decided by the world governing body's Rally Commission and includes New Zealand's event in mid July.

The 16 to 18 July dates for Rally New Zealand will be confirmed at the full FIA meeting in October.

But the FIA's concerns raised during the recent Rally Commission meeting in Paris were not financial after this years rally proceeded without a major sponsor, but spectator safety and behaviour.

A spectator suffered a broken leg when he was struck by the Subaru Impreza of Scotsman, Colin McRae, during the first full days competition through the Maramarua Forest.

In-car camera footage showed the spectator was not quick enough retreating from near the centre of the forestry road, a position he should never have been in after taking a photograph of McRae's car.

The incident could have been far worse had the spectator been hit head on rather than a glancing blow. "For the first time the conduct of some spectators at our rally was raised at the FIA meeting," said New Zealand's delegate on the Rally Commission, Morrie Chandler.

The injury accident was not only saftey concern raised at the meeting with similar video footage showing other occasions where spectators were caught wandering on the road as competing cars approached at speed.

"Crowd beaviour is one of the major concerns of the FIA and I would be extremely disappointed if our continued inclusion as a round of the world championship was ever threatened by the actions of a few spectators who disregard safety instructions and the requests of our marshals," says Chandler.

"Other events in previous years have been 'put on probation' because of the stupid behaviour of an undisciplined few," says Chandler.

"We as organisers can improve our crowd control, but our own spectators could hold the key to this country continuing as a round of the FIA World Rally Championship," saya Chandler.

The provisional dates for the 1999 FIA World Rally Championship are:

Date Country Name of Event 17 - 20 Janurary Monte Carlo Rally Automobile Monte Carlo 12 - 14 Feburary Sweden The International Swedish Rally 26 - 28 Feburary Kenya Safari Rally - Kenya 21 - 24 March Portugal Rally Du Partugal 18 - 21 April Spain Rally Cataluna Costa Brava - Rally De Espana 09 - 12 May France Rally De France - Tour De Corse 23 - 26 May Argentina Rally Argentina 06 - 09 June Greece Acropolis Rally 16 - 18 July New Zealand Rally New Zealand 20 - 22 August Finland Neste Rally Finland 17 - 19 September China 555 China Rally (alternative dates, 5 - 7 September) 03 - 06 October Italy Rally Sanremo - Rallye D'Italic 04 - 07 November Australia API Rally Australia 21 - 23 November Great Britain Network Q Rally of Great Britain

http://www.sportsbeat.co.nz/st35.html

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