The long-running, prestigious New Zealand Rally Championship will once again be organised and promoted by personnel from Rally New Zealand.
In a joint announcement today [15 February 2011], MotorSport New Zealand Inc. and Rally of New Zealand Ltd confirm that Rally New Zealand becomes responsible for running the national motor rally championship after the previous NZRC promoters, The MotorSport Company, decided to focus on their circuit racing activities.
Rally of New Zealand Ltd, commonly referred to as Rally New Zealand (RNZ), is the non-profit organisation behind the event of the same name which is New Zealand's round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Shayne Harris, president of MotorSport New Zealand, says the proven track record of Rally New Zealand's officials and volunteers in running world-class rallies helps bring a fresh dimension to the New Zealand Rally Championship.
"Rally New Zealand is always regarded by competitors and officials as one of the best run events on the WRC calendar. We see that the professionalism and commitment of RNZ personnel will only benefit our nationwide rally championship," said Harris.
Chairman of Rally New Zealand, Peter 'PJ' Johnston says that he is very pleased to have the opportunity to help promote rallying on a wider scale throughout the country via the New Zealand Rally Championship.
"We look forward to bringing a renewed focus on rallying as a sport. We have some fantastic talent in New Zealand with young drivers like Hayden Paddon and Stephen Barker now competing, learning and demonstrating their abilities offshore," said Johnston.
"Our Rally New Zealand personnel already run two of the events in this year's New Zealand Rally Championship -- Rally New Zealand in May and the International Rally of Whangarei in July -- so we look forward to working with the organising clubs of the Otago, Wairarapa and Hawke's Bay events to run some top-class events in 2011."
The 2011 New Zealand Rally Championship gets underway in early April with DriveSouth Rally of Otago, the only South Island round scheduled this season. Next, competitors head for an exciting non-WRC Rally New Zealand based at Hampton Downs, midway between Auckland and Hamilton, in early May. At the end of May Rally Wairarapa takes place, then there's a six week break before the International Rally of Whangarei which is also a round of the 2011 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. This 2011 season concludes with August's Hawke's Bay Rally.
Each of the five 2011 NZRC events offer two days of competition on gravel surfaces. As in previous years, the New Zealand Rally Championship has classes for Group N (production car class) four-wheel-drive, Group N two-wheel-drive and Kiwi2, open class 4WD and historic cars. There are also trophies for both the winning driver and co-driver in each category as well as the rookie driver and the junior driver (under 25-years-old).
The new NZRC agreement with Rally New Zealand has a five year term with a right of renewal for another five years. A new NZRC website is in development by the Rally New Zealand team with details to be provided shortly.