International Rally Field to Treat Northland’s Motorsport Fans
09 May 2013
The opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship brings a star line-up to Northland based motorsport fans for this year’s International Rally of Whangarei in association with the Brian Green Property Group being run from 17 to 19 May.
Based in Whangarei the two-day rally will use roads through the Kaipara and Whangarei districts, providing a competition distance of 288.16km broken in to 16 special stages. Incorporating numerous ticketed spectator vantage points along the way, fans can also see the heart of the operation for free – at Whangarei’s Quayside Town Basin.
As the only international FIA category event for 2013 it will double deliver with the confirmation of rising Finnish rally driver Esapekka Lappi competing for his first time in New Zealand. Driving one of the two factory backed ŠKODA Super2000 specification cars, Lappi and co-driver Janne Ferm have joined the experienced MRF Tyres team that includes Indian Gaurav Gill and New Zealand based co-driver Glenn Macneal.
Joined by other teams from Australia, Japan and France fans will recognise many of the Kiwi competitors – most of which are competing in the subsidiary field that follow immediately behind the international cars. Headed by current Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship leader Hayden Paddon, he and co-driver John Kennard return to the Whangarei roads having last won the event outright in 2011.
To assist spectators event organisers Rally of New Zealand have produced a map detailing the prime viewing locations to watch each of the 53 cars competing. Available from the ‘spectator info’ section of the www.rallywhangarei.co.nz website, the Quayside Town Basin rally headquarters and in the Northern Advocate feature supplement Wednesday 15 May, the map also includes timings on when each special stage is scheduled to start.
While encouraging people to see the skill and commitment of these drivers in action, organisers also have a strong volunteer base of marshals out in the field to assist spectators in viewing from safe locations.
“Ensuring our fans and potential fans have both a safe and enjoyable experience requires using common sense – guided by our trained marshals,” says Laurie Brenssell, chairman of the organising committee.
“The cars don’t always get it right and that’s why we encourage spectators to utilise the prime viewing points where they can be sure of their own safety. Plus it helps support the community with half the revenue from spectator tickets going to local groups.
“We also ask fans respect people’s property as they get to and from their vantage point – and to only leave footprints behind.”
The rally itself gets underway on Friday 17 May with a pre-event autograph session in the Cameron St mall from 3:30pm. The ceremonial start begins at 4:30pm with all the competing crews and cars taking part before being parked for the night ahead of Saturday’s action. Leaving Whangarei from 8am the route takes competitors over roads around Parahi in the south-west, Waipu Caves and Brooks – including the ‘Hella’ jump on Swamp Rd. They return to Whangarei for the brand new 1.25km Pohe Island ‘Super Special’ stage before a 20minute service break at the Town Basin. The route is repeated in the afternoon with the cars then parked overnight following the service break.
Sunday begins at 6:55am and heads south through Waipu Gorge and on to Marohemo and Batley road, visiting Paparoa and Cassidy road before returning to Whangarei for a 20 minute service break. The teams repeat the stages in the early afternoon, returning to the Quayside Town Basin for a ceremonial finish from 3:15pm.