New events for 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship
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Two new events will be included in the New Zealand Rally Championship schedule for 2018 with a third South Island round and an event closer to Auckland planned.
The South Canterbury Car Club-run Rally South Canterbury features in back-to-back South Island events in June on the proposed calendar.
Staged three weeks after Rally Canterbury, the one-day rally, based out of Timaru, has a point of difference over the other two South Island rounds in that it is not a forest-based rally but rather a fast flowing event in farm land in the South Canterbury region.
Roads World Rally Championship star Hayden Paddon grew up on will be used.
The other new event on the calendar is a two-day event based out of Hamilton featuring many of the stages in Rally New Zealand this year. The Te Akau and Raglan stages, including the world-famous Whaanga Coast, will be used while there are plans to tap into the Auckland market by basing stages or service parks in the Maramarua Forest and at either Pukekohe Park Raceway or Hampton Downs.
Consideration is still being given to whether it will be known as Rally New Zealand or called something else.
The changes mean Rally Waitomo and the Tauranga-based Rally New Zealand will disappear having been run this year although many of the stages used in both events will be incorporated into the 2018 championship finale.
The season opens at the two-day Rally Otago in April as usual before the International Rally of Whangarei in early May, which doubles as a round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.
Rally Canterbury holds its traditional Queens Birthday Weekend date with Timaru following three weeks later. Rally Coromandel will feature in August before the finale in Hamilton in mid-October.
NZRC 2018 Calendar
April 14-15 Rally Otago
May 5-6 - International Rally of Whangarei
June 3 - Rally Canterbury
June 23 - Rally South Canterbury
August 18 - Rally Coromandel
October 13-14 - TBC (Hamilton)