The 2012 World Rally Championship calendar has been unveiled by the FIA, and it’s great to see that Rally New Zealand has been included.

There were fears that New Zealand may disappear from the WRC calendar, however it seems that sanity has prevailed. The event is one of the most popular in the series, particularly among drivers who rate the New Zealand gravel stages as the best in the world.

The June 21-24 slot for Rally New Zealand could make for some interesting weather conditions on the north island with the event being held more than a month later than usual. If you’re thinking of adding the event to your holiday schedule, rest assured that the cold weather is more than made up for by the sideways action.

Last year’s Rally New Zealand featured a tremendous battle, with Loeb, Latvala, Ogier and Solberg all still in the running with just one stage to go. In the end it was Latvala who prevailed by just 2.4 seconds, despite not leading the rally before then.

Standing on the Whaanga Coast as the world’s best drivers drove on the limit in search of the rally win was something to behold – and the view looking out over the ocean wasn’t bad either!

It’s sad that both New Zealand and Australia aren’t annual features on the WRC calendar, but with plenty of other countries all pushing to be added to the series, we should be thankful that we have two events in our part of the world that run in consecutive years.

2012 World Rally Championship calendar:

22/01 - Monte Carlo
12/02 - Sweden
11/03 - Mexico
01/04 - Portugal
29/04 - Argentina
27/05 - Greece * (or 03/06)
24/06 - New Zealand
05/08 - Finland
26/08 - Germany
16/09 - Great Britain
07/10 - France
October - Italy *
04/11 - Spain
* Dates subject to confirmation

- Peter Whitten

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