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The date for the 2012 Rally of Otago has been confirmed as May 25-27, following an initial date clash with the Hamilton V8 Supercar race.

The event will be the third round of the 2012 New Zealand Rally Championship, with the date allowing four weeks between each of the first three NZRC rounds.

The Dunedin-based event has run in late May on several occasions, with cooler weather promising to spice up the competition between New Zealand’s best rally teams, and the cream of the classic rally competitors.

“Running the event late in May avoids the unfortunate clash with the V8 Supercar event, and ensures that officials, competitors and the media will be able to attend our rally,” event spokesman, Roger Oakley, said.

“In particular, the combination of national championship rallying with the International Classic Rally of Otago has become extremely popular over the past 10 years, and this date will ensure that as many competitors and spectators as possible can attend the event.”

The 2012 event will begin with competitive stages on Friday night, May 25 similar to those held in 2011, which will be preceded be reconnaissance on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.

The majority of the gravel special stages will be held on Saturday and Sunday, May 26 and 27, with the Rally of Otago’s traditional mix of challenging stages awaiting competitors.

Last year’s Classic Rally of Otago saw 1981 World Rally Champion, Ari Vatanen, driving a Ford Escort RS1800 in the event, and event organisers are already well down the path in negotiations with another international star.

“Over the years the rally has featured some of the biggest names in world rallying, including Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Bjorn Waldegard, Juha Kankkunen and Michele Mouton, and we’re hopeful of adding to that list next year,” Oakley said.

“The route for next year’s rally is currently being finalised, and will again feature some new stages, as well of some of the traditional tests that the event has become known for.”

Full details on next year’s route will be released in the coming weeks, with further information on the rally available from the official Rally of Otago Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/otagorally, or via the official rally website at: www.otagorally.net



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