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Stadium Cars and Nichibo have renewed their naming rights sponsorship of the International Classic Rally of Otago (April 5-7), after first becoming involved with the event last year.

As well as sponsoring the rally in 2012, Stadium Cars and Nichibo also supported the entry of New Zealand’s Production World Rally Champion, Hayden Paddon.

Paddon drove a Ford Escort RS1800 in the rally and looked on track for a convincing victory until a rear puncture cost him valuable time.

In 2013, the same Escort BDA will be driven by Stadium Cars’ Tony Gosling.

Rally of Otago spokesman, Roger Oakely, said that the Dunedin-based event was thrilled to welcome back Stadium Cars and Nichibo for a second year running.

“We are delighted to be associated with them, as they are enthusiastic and have a genuine desire to support the event and see it grow,” Oakley said.

“Stadium Cars and Stadium Finance are a rapidly expanding business and now have a sales yard in Dunedin. They are known for their care of their customers, and support of the community in many different ways.

“Nichibo are a leading importer of quality Japanese cars into New Zealand, and both companies fit nicely with the event,” he added.

Entries for the 2013 Stadium Cars / Nichibo International Classic Rally of Otago continue to pour in, headed by two-time World Rally Champion, Miki Biasion, from Italy.

Biasion will drive a Porsche 911 in the event, with fellow Italian and Otago Rally regular, Fabrizia Pons, calling the pacenotes.

As well as a host of fast New Zealanders, such as former winner Deane Buist in a Ford Escort RS1800, there are 14 Australians in the field, the most notable being the four-times Australian Rally Champion, Neal Bates.

Bates has freighted his rear-wheel drive Toyota Celica to New Zealand for his first attempt at the rally, and will be a real threat for victory. So too will Queenslander, Stewart Reid.

Reid led the 2011 rally until an axle failure ruined his chances, and was hoping for more success last year, however he crashed on the first stage. He’ll be hoping to make amends in 2013.

The rally also includes the first round of the NZ Rally Championship, and the Allcomers Rally, to which Stadium Cars is also providing some support. In all, nearly 80 cars will start the rally on Friday, April 5.
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