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Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton, the new base for this year’s round of the World Rally Championship, has received the thumb’s up from drivers.

Organisers staged a trial day at Mystery Creek on the weekend (9/10 September). Mystery Creek is the new headquarters for the 36th Propecia Rally New Zealand, the penultimate round of the World Rally Championship that takes place in and around Hamilton and the Waikato from November 16–19.

The drivers tested part of the circuit for the special stage to be held on each of the first two days of the event at Mystery Creek. The cars were housed in the indoor arena to be used as the service centre during the rally. Many of the drivers were impressed.

“This is just fantastic here,” New Zealand rally champion Richard Mason said. “The whole set-up at Mystery Creek is amazing and will be a huge boost for the sport and for the event.”

The 2004 national champion Chris West was also a convert.

“It is going to be a pretty interesting special stage here that’s for sure and excellent for the public. It is an ideal venue for the headquarters and the service park and I am sure all the drivers will be impressed.”

Well known Kiwi motorsport driver Marty Roestenburg believes it is the best set-up he has seen for the rally.

“It’s just incredible. There’s been nothing like this before,” said Roestenburg. “This is just a fun day but I am won over. We’ve decided that we just have to be part of this event now. I’ve just got to work out how to do that.”

He got his answer later in the day when he won the special draw by Rally New Zealand for a complimentary entry to this year’s event.

Perhaps the most interested bystander is long time boss of Propecia Rally New Zealand and now chairman of the World Rallies Commission, Morrie Chandler.

“I’m delighted that our drivers find it an excellent facility. It’s a major change and a big step forward for the event,” Chandler said. “I am sure that the WRC teams will see this as a big improvement for the sport and the event in this country.

“This is the first time that the event has been able to have its headquarters, the service park and even a special stage in one place. The indoor arena will house all the WRC teams so it will be a rare opportunity for the public to get close up to see how these superstar teams operate.

“I guess in the past the rally has mostly appealed to the rally fan. But Mystery Creek will mean that everything is right here in one place and will appeal to a much broader spread of motorsport and general sports enthusiast. There will be something here for everyone”

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