Kiwi motorsport gets a boost, as rallying elite join new series
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An all new off-road racing series is set to grow support for rallying domestically when the New Zealand Rally X Series debuts next weekend.
Led by the New Zealand Xtreme Motorsport Series, the first round will take place at Max Motors Wellington Family Speedway in Upper Hutt over January 12-13.
Open to all Motorsport New Zealand homologated rally cars, the Rally X Series has already attracted the attention of a few familiar rallying names out of the New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC).
NZRC front-runners Dylan Turner and Sloan Cox have confirmed they'll contest at the first round in Wellington. Turner said he's excited to compete in the first round of the series with hopes it'll get more people interested in rallying across the country.
"I think the challenge of a shorter style track and the fact there's going to be so many fans will be quite nice," Turner said.
"It's exciting. We go miles out into the bush where no one can go, you do your best corner and no one gets to see it except for you and your co-driver. Whereas on a track everyone is going to see almost every corner, which will be cool.
"It'll be awesome to show what the new cars can do and get those people who are fans of Ken Block, Gymkhana and the Hoonigan brand enjoying seeing these rally cars drifting.
"All I can say is bring on the jumps, because these cars are spectacular in the air."
Next weekend's event will see the rally drivers launch in and out of the speedway venue onto a mix of concrete, dirt and loose gravel.
Jumps and a joker-lap will all play part in the multi-platform course that is set to test the skills of the drivers who will be without their co-drivers this time. Cox is even bringing a ramp to the speedway for the drivers to jump in and out of the stadium.
Turner started rallying in 1999 with a Subaru Legacy and over the years has gone through several chassis', including two Mitsubishi Evolutions.
With the changing face of the NZRC towards the AP4+ platform, Turner made the move into an AP4+ specification Audi S1 in 2017. He said bringing rallying into a Super Special Stage type atmosphere alongside drifting and UTV racing will only do good things for the discipline.
"It'll be cool to show the fans what the cars can do, how exciting they are and just how spectacular it is. We've got some good drivers in the New Zealand Rally Championship and some cool cars, so it'll be awesome to show them off.
"With what NZXMS and Brendon White are doing, it'll just be awesome. I think it'll be good for rallying, that's why I'm supporting it. It's normally our traditional time off, but I think for us to grow ralling we need to get into the public eye.
"If it brings another five per cent worth of fan base to the rallies next year than that's awesome. It'll have been worthwhile. It's good for the fans, sponsors and manufacturers."
Two rounds will make up the first year of the Rally X Series, with the second to take place at ASB Baypark Stadium in Tauranga. Exhibition runs will take place across the New Zealand Xtreme Motorsport Series season as part of the support line up for the D1NZ National Drifting Championship.