Rally NZ action at Hampton Downs
- 30th March 2010, 12:53pm
The event’s general manager Paul Mallard explains: “The new Hampton Downs Motorsport Park and its brand-new race track provide a fantastic venue for two super special stages to be run by the World Rally Championship and the other rally crews contesting Rally New Zealand in 2010.
“Hampton Downs is conveniently located for rally fans from Auckland, Hamilton, Pukekohe and the surrounding rural areas to travel a relatively short distance to enjoy a huge day of motorsport entertainment.
“Teams must use the specified Pirelli gravel format tyre for all Rally New Zealand stages and we know gravel format tyres on a slick tarmac surface make for some exciting action!
“The first leading WRC car starts the first run around Hampton Downs at 11:46am, with the second car starting just five seconds later. Four minutes later the next pair of cars start and so on through the top priority cars, with the New Zealand competitors starting in these five second-apart pairs at two minute intervals. It’s fair to say we’d expect the drivers to be extremely competitive in this sort of set-up.”
So with the first Hampton Downs super special stage being run late morning, then a second run from 3:59pm, fans will be kept entertained throughout the day with a huge variety of motorsport action.
“Red Bull is joining us as a partner to put on demonstrations from drift racing stars and freestyle motocross riders. Their Red Bull Hummer and DJ will add to the fun atmosphere, and NZ Performance Car magazine is calling for readers to register for a special infield VIP zone and track parades,” says Mallard.
“Speed comparisons, handicap saloon car races, WRC driving skill demonstrations, driver autograph sessions and much more will keep fans entertained from 10am to well after 5pm, so for a $20 adult pass, it’s great value.”
When accompanied by a paying adult, children under 15 years of age are free.
The WRC and other rally competitors also complete their 15-minute lunchtime service while at Hampton Downs, which officially becomes a remote service park for that day only.
“The new-look remote service parks add some real challenges for rally teams,” says Rally New Zealand’s clerk of the course Willard Martin. “Previously we would have had to design a route that took the crews back to the main service park for the lunchtime service. Now that we can run a more extensive route using remote service parks, we have these placed in Whangarei on the Friday, Hampton Downs on Saturday and Raglan on Sunday. This is really bringing the rally to WRC fans, which can only be a positive thing.
“The other reason it’s particularly interesting to watch the top rally teams complete their service is they’re allowed only four technicians, a limited array of parts and tools, and just 15 minutes to repair any damage. With cars returned to the best condition possible, teams send the cars out for another 80km of hard-out rally stages that afternoon before being able to return to the main service park at Queens Wharf in Auckland.”
Saturday’s line-up contesting the Hampton Downs super special stage includes competitors from the WRC, Production World Rally Championship, Super 2000 World Rally Championship, New Zealand Rally Championship and Smartwood by Alpwood Possum Bourne Memorial Rally fields. In total, fans can expect to see 120 cars run the two super special stages.
In 2010 Rally New Zealand is based in Auckland with several key elements located within the city’s boundaries, such as the spectacular start ceremony at Viaduct Harbour, the service park on Queens Wharf and the rally headquarters at SKYCITY Auckland.
The rally route takes competitors both north and south of the city – Friday’s route runs through the Whangarei and Kaipara districts, while Saturday and Sunday’s stages are in the Franklin, North Waikato and Raglan districts.
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