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The route for the 2012 Rally of Otago promises to be an exciting one, with over 300 kilometres of competitive stages over the three days of competition.

To be held from May 25 to 27, the event is round three of the New Zealand Rally Championship, and also includes the popular International Classic Rally of Otago, and the Allcomers event.

Based out of Dunedin in the South Island, competition will begin on Friday night, with three stages close to the city, totalling nearly 60 kilometres in length.

The night stages were reintroduced in 2011, with competitors and spectators enjoying the opportunity to watch some of the best rally drivers light up the forests.

These stages are different to the ones used in 2011, but will all offer excellent viewing opportunities for spectators.

The rally heads north of Dunedin on Saturday morning for seven gravel stages, with the day finishing with the tarmac street stage around the city after over 115 competitive kilometres.

Stages include Shag Valley, a couple of new stages and a return to Waikouaiti, a stage not used in the event for many years.

The final day, Sunday, will provide a real sting in the tail for the remaining competitors, with a further six stages and over 130km, including two stages of at least 25km, and a marathon new 45km test through the Berwick Forest, which will be the penultimate of the rally.

“Next year’s rally will offer a challenging route with a good mixture of new stages, signature Otago Rally stages and reworked stages from previous years,” Clerk of Course, Norm Oakley, said.

“Some of the stages will be used in a different configuration to previous years, while we have retained some of the event’s most popular stages, including Kuri Bush, Waipori Gorge and McIntosh Road.

“We’ve structured the route to mitigate the risk of snow,” Oakley added.

“While it’s not too likely, the end of May does incur a risk of snow on the higher roads, so we have steered away from areas such as Middlemarch where it could have been a problem.”

The 2012 Rally of Otago ‘intention to enter’ form is now available from the competitors tab of the event website, with Supplementary Regulations and a map of the route to be made available early in the New Year.

Visit the Otago Rally website at www.otagorally.net

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