Rally NZ's ceremonial start delights Auckland fans Several thousand rally fans descended on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour to celebrate the official start of the 40th running of Rally New Zealand. The Thursday evening event featured every ...
Rally NZ's ceremonial start delights Auckland fans
Several thousand rally fans descended on Auckland's Viaduct Harbour to celebrate the official start of the 40th running of Rally New Zealand.
The Thursday evening event featured every competitor in this year's Rally New Zealand, which is the fifth round of the FIA World Rally Championship and also many of the event's former winners along with all living New Zealand rally champions.
"Seeing so many drivers who have played such major roles in New Zealand rallying together here to celebrate the 40th running of Rally New Zealand was absolutely fantastic," says the event's clerk of the course Willard Martin, who competed in the first event himself in 1969.
"The atmosphere was great. Families and die-hard rally fans got together to commemorate what is the longest running world championship event in New Zealand and the Southern Hemisphere," says Martin.
"A very special guest was Australian driver Bruce Hodgson who won our 1971 event in a Ford Lotus Cortina, and we were delighted to see Rick Rimmer who was the co-drover with Grady Thompson to win our very first event, then called the Shell Silver Fern Rally. Rick shared a story about how they had only just finished building their Holden Monaro two weeks before the event in 1969 and that remains the only time a Holden has won Rally New Zealand."
A celebratory cake was cut by Martin as the event's clerk of the course, Rimmer as the inaugural winner and Sebastien Loeb as the event's most recent winner.
The promotion to find the fan with the oldest item of Rally New Zealand memorabilia saw one of New Zealand's rallying legends, Jim Scott, receive a brand-new 2010 rally jacket in acknowledgement of his early '70s jacket smothered in rally badges from virtually every year since.