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Due to a dramatic intervention from Mother Nature, the organisers of the 2006 Propecia Rally NZ have shifted a special stage for the first time in 32 years, after a massive slip estimated to cost in the region of one million dollars to repair closed one of the special stage roads.
 
Te Papatapu was to be Special Stage 13 of the event, until the heavy rains experienced throughout the month of June bought a hillside down across the road approximately halfway through the stage.
 
After consultation with the Waikato District Council, the decision was made to include Maungatawhiri Rd twice instead of the now dead-end Te Papatapu Rd.
 
Rally NZ Clerk of the Course Willard Martin notes:
 
“This is without doubt the best option.  Rally New Zealand is world renowned for its roads and loved by drivers for smooth yet testing gravel surfaces.  This decision ensures that this year will be no exception. But I have to admit it is the only time in many years of involvement in rallying that I can recall losing a stage due to the road being cut in half!”
 
Maungatawhiri Rd was last used in 2002, but will be run in reverse direction to its previous use.
 
The roads used in other parts of the rally will be familiar to rally enthusiasts and drivers alike, with Martin indicating that a number of ‘crowd favoured’ stages are to be included in this years’ route.  
 
“Many people will be excited to know that we will have two runs over Te Koraha – a 48km stage that includes a wide variety of roads, speeds and technical requirements.  This stage will unquestionably test drivers, co-drivers and teams, pushing them to their limits.”
 
The Whaanga Coast stage, popular for its accessible viewing points and picturesque scenery, will provide a great finish to the event; the rally takes competitors and spectators to the Waitomo region on Friday 17th November, Port Waikato and Te Akau on Saturday 18th November and Raglan on Sunday 19th November. 
 
A complete rally route has been published and is available for download on the Propecia Rally NZ website: www.rallynz.org.nz
 
With the route now finalised and approved by the FIA, Martin emphasized that Propecia Rally NZ is now focusing on the next stage in working with local residents, councils and other related parties to gain the best out of the event. 
 
“While this is a major international sporting event with the eyes of the world upon Waikato we also realise it is a combined community effort.  We have a great relationship with the local communities, and we will be working closely with them in the coming months.”
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