Route confirmed for Rally NZ
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The route for Rally New Zealand has been confirmed with the Raglan area hosting one day and the Rotorua region staging the other.
The iconic event returned to the calendar this year for the first time since 2012 - serving as the final round of the New Zealand Rally Championship from November 24-26.
It had been hoped this year's running would be a precursor to a return to the World Rally Championship calendar in 2018 but that seems unlikely now.
The 2017 event begins with a ceremonial opening on The Strand in downtown Tauranga on the Friday night before a full day's action in the Raglan area that includes famous stages like Te Akau, Te Hutewai and the legendary Whaanga Coast test on the Saturday.
Sunday's action is based out of ASB Baypark Stadium and sees competitors tackle six stages between Tauranga and Rotorua including the Manawahe special stage that features the renowned Helicopter Corner.
"We're really looking forward to bringing Rally New Zealand to Tauranga and have enjoyed fantastic support from the council and community who have been very welcoming," Rally New Zealand event chairman Peter Johnston said. "The Tauranga facilities including ASB Baypark Stadium are superb. Both organisers and teams are going to really enjoy working out of this location.
"With the event being the grand finale of the NZRC for our top national crews, Hayden [WRC ace Hayden Paddon] returning home at the end of the WRC season and some guest international entries, another classic Rally New Zealand is on the cards," said Johnston.
"Only a handful of Kiwi drivers have their name on the Rally NZ trophy, (2011 - Hayden Paddon, 1981 - Jim Donald, 1975 - Mike Marshall, 1970 - Paul Adams, 1969 - Grady Thompson) the 2017 edition is certain to be closely fought with the ultimate reward of joining this elite list of names on the trophy."