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The Otago Sports Car Club have announced that the 2006 Otago Rally is expected to be held on the weekend of April 13-15, 2007 (subject to Motorsport New Zealand confirmation).

This will be a week after Easter and the renowned “Race to the Sky” International Hillclimb at Cardrona (approx 260km from Dunedin). An opportunity exists for International competitors to do both events in the space of nine days and spend the intervening period taking in the spectacular scenery of the lower South Island.

As was the case in 2006, the rally will be run in three sections. Firstly, it will once again comprise the first round of the New Zealand Rally Championship. This component of the event features all of NZ’s leading competitors in modern Group N rally cars, together with the exciting ‘Kiwi 2’ 2WD cars.

Secondly, the event incorporates the Dunlop International Classic Rally of Otago, for pre-1982, 2WD cars. This event has grown in leaps and bounds since its inception in 1997, to the point where it is the leading event of its type in New Zealand.

In recent years it has attracted former World Rally Champions Juha Kankkunen and Hannu Mikkola from Finland and Bjorn Waldegard from Sweden, as well as regular visitor, Ross Dunkerton from Australia. In 2005 the event was won by Jimmy McRae from Scotland, who just pipped 2004 winner Pasi Hagstrom from Finland for the title.

In 2006 Pasi Hagstrom had his revenge and won the event for the second time after McRae succumbed to the tricky public roads and rolled his Escort RS1800 into retirement.

For 2007, it is hoped that another legend of world rallying will travel to the fast and flowing roads of coastal Otago. Watch this space!

The third component of the weekend is the ‘Allcomers Rally of Otago’. This is a separate event targeted at locals who have cars that are not eligible for either the Classic or NZRC events. Once again it will form a round of the popular “Laird Motorsport Southern Rally Series”.

As was the case in 2006, all competitors, including those in the Dunlop Classic Rally, will have the option of purchasing organizer provided computer-generated pacenotes (using the Swedish “Jemba” system). For those that purchase the notes a one pass convoy reconnaissance is available on Friday, April 13.

Features of the 2007 Otago Rally include:
•    Pre-event motorshow and publicity stage at Forbury Park.
•    2 day rally, 13 special stages covering approx. 240km – all in daylight.
•    All stages are gravel surface on both public and forestry roads, except for tarmac “Super Special” stage run in front of a large crowd in central Dunedin.
•    For 2007, the rally will once again run to the south of Dunedin with a central service park based at the lakeside village of Waihola.
•    Favorite stages include ‘ Kuri Bush’, ‘Whare Flat’, ‘Macintosh Rd’, and ‘Waipori Gorge’ (described by former British Rally Champion Russell Brookes as one of the best stages he had ever competed on).

For further information, watch the event website: www.otagorally.co.nz or contact:
Norm Oakley: norman@oakleygray.co.nz or Roger Oakley: roger.b.oakley@mwhglobal.com

 



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