This weekend's second round of the 2008 Vantage Aluminium Joinery New Zealand Rally Championship heads in to the wintry depths of Otago for the Scenic Circle Southern Cross Hotel Rally of Otago (10-11 May).

The first of two South Island events on the rally championship calendar, a recent southerly front has ended a long spell of temperate weather around the weekend base of Dunedin.

"It's turned a bit feral on us," described Clerk of the Course for the rally, Norman Oakley.  "It's been raining, there is snow on the hills and it's a bit like it was a year ago."

Oakley warns not to expect any one season for the weekend. "It would be unusual to have snow on the roads, but who knows, it could be anything," he added.

Regarded as a technical event due its region specific crests and brows, the rally covers 13 special stages over the two days using roads to the south, north and west of the shipping port.

While all three championship categories will be contested over the two days, the classic component will be incorporated into the separately run 'Dunlop Classic International Rally of Otago'.

With 13 four-wheel drive and seven two-wheel drive championship cars expected to start the main event, the seven crews contesting the Classic category trail shortly after, following the same route.

Following Friday's ceremonial start, the cars depart from outside the Southern Cross Hotel from 8am on the Saturday, completing six stages to the south of Dunedin.  The day concludes with a 2.15km sprint through part of Dunedin's industrial area.

Resuming on the Sunday from 7:15am, five stages to the south and north of Dunedin bring the teams to the Whare Flat forest west of the city for a final 13km test.  The remaining cars then return for a 2:30pm champagne finish in the Octagon.

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