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Live rallysprint action is returning to New Zealand television screens with confirmation of four hours coverage for November’s Battle of Jack’s Ridge event near Auckland. The rallysprint will screen on a SkySport channel on November 15, the day after the Rally of Auckland takes place to showcase some of the stages that had been planned for New Zealand’s 2020 WRC event. The Jack’s Ridge venue at Whitford had been purpose-built as the Power Stage venue for the WRC event by former NZ rally champion Andrew Hawkeswood and his family. It’s expected the full 6.2km course will be used for the final stage of the Rally of Auckland with a shorter format for the rallysprint. Hayden Paddon has confirmed his entry in both the Rally of Auckland and the Battle of Jack’s Ridge and the event is expected to attract most of the leading NZ rally teams. As yet no supplementary regulations have been published for either event. The rally itinerary is expected to include two loops of Riverhead Forest, Puhoi and Kaipara Hills stages before finishing at Jack’s Ridge. Rallysprint action with live TV coverage did much to build the profile of the sport in New Zealand during the 1980s - most notably with the Ashley Forest and Riverhead Forest events. The Ashley Forest Rallysprint remains an iconic part of the Kiwi rallying calendar but the 2020 edition was recently cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 uncertainty.
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