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With confirmation of Rally New Zealand, as expected, as the fifth event of a 13-round FIA World Rally Championship in 2010 comes the news that the event will also be a round of the inaugural WRC Cup for Super 2000 rally cars.
The Super 2000, or S2000, cars will form the basis of replacement for the current WRC cars from the 2011 season, so it’s particularly exciting to see these new models in action in New Zealand next year, says Rally New Zealand general manager Paul Mallard.
“We are thrilled have Rally New Zealand, which runs from 6 to 9 May, selected as one of the events of this inaugural world series,” says Mallard. “The Super 2000 cars are the future of world rallying, so it’s fantastic to see these cars in action alongside the current WRC stars on the New Zealand roads all rally drivers love.”
Ford’s rally team, M-Sport, has already began production of the new Ford Fiesta Super 2000 rally car. Based on the Ford Fiesta road car, the team has confirmed this is the vehicle which Ford will use to campaign in the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship, replacing the Focus RS WRC.
The S2000 cars run non-turbocharged two-litre engines with a maximum of 8,500rpm rev-limit. At present a number of vehicle manufacturers, including Peugeot, Proton, Fiat, Toyota, VW, Skoda and Ford, have suitable cars in their model line-up. Several of these are already running S2000-spec cars in other rally championships.
Rally New Zealand is also scheduled to be a round of the Production World Rally Championship (P-WRC), says Mallard.
“Along with 10-12 WRC-specification cars run by top manufacturers Ford and Citroën, New Zealand fans can expect to see many exciting young rally stars competing in the production car field. This class is a proving ground for up-and-coming rally competitors driving Group N, two-litre turbocharged, four-wheel-drive cars, not too different to a standard road car and the same car used by our own top competitors in the New Zealand Rally Championship,” says Mallard. “Our drivers have an opportunity to directly compare their own performance on the same stages to those of the P-WRC drivers.”
Nine rallies have been specified as P-WRC events and each P-WRC competitor must nominate six of these events, including two outside Europe, in which to earn points for the championship title. With Mexico, Jordan and Japan the other non-European rounds, it’s expected strong field of between 12 and 20 P-WRC competitors will compete in Rally New Zealand in 2010.
Rally New Zealand will also count as a round of the 2010 New Zealand Rally Championship. With another 30 or more New Zealand teams also competing as part of the domestic championship, additional offshore entries are expected to take the total field number over 60.
In 2010 Rally New Zealand runs from 6 to 9 May with its home-base in Auckland City and the route taking competitors both north to Whangarei and south to the Franklin and Raglan districts.
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