When the World Rally Championship returns to New Zealand in May this year, SKYCITY Auckland will provide Rally New Zealand’s home-base in central Auckland, something that last happened in 2004.

With its combination of award-winning conference, hotel and entertainment facilities all under the iconic Sky Tower, SKYCITY Auckland offers a major world-class event like Rally New Zealand an excellent base.

“It’s exciting to be bringing the rally back to Auckland, particularly central Auckland and SKYCITY,” says Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr. “The focus within the World Rally Championship is very much on bringing the rally to the people and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city and SKYCITY one of the most popular, easily-accessible venues from which you can run an event of this size.”

Rally New Zealand takes place from 6 to 9 May and offers local fans the chance to enjoy the world’s best rally action between established stars like six-time World Rally Champion, Citroën driver Sebastién Loeb, close-rival Ford driver Mikko Hirvonen, and Petter Solberg, always a favourite in New Zealand, returning this year in a Citroën.

“Add in the exciting new Super 2000 World Rally Championship, Production World Rally Championship contenders like local star Hayden Paddon, and the New Zealand Rally Championship contestants, and rally fans have some fantastic motorsport action to enjoy this autumn,” adds Carr.

SKYCITY’s CEO, Nigel Morrison comments: “SKYCITY is delighted to be hosting this world-class event right here in the heart of Auckland. SKYCITY is the natural location for Rally New Zealand, the longest-running World Championship event run in New Zealand, as the World Rally Championship event returns to Auckland in 2010. We’re looking forward to the crowds coming down to see the cars and getting in on the action.”

SKYCITY Auckland provides the venue for a range of opportunities for rally fans to see their WRC heroes, starting with the driver autograph signing session on Sunday, 2 May from 2pm to 4pm. This will be followed by a driver skill demonstration outside SKYCITY on Federal Street. SKYCITY Auckland also houses the event’s official headquarters and the media centre with more than 200 accredited print, radio and TV media expected to attend. Parc Ferme, the secure overnight park for all rally cars, will also be contained in one of SKYCITY’s car-parks, offering another opportunity for fans to check out the cars close-up.

The venue also provides accommodation for hundreds of team personnel and officials, and meals and refreshments for WRC crews and fans alike. With 18 restaurants and bars on the SKYCITY site there are options to suit everyone, says Morrison.

Official Rally New Zealand merchandise and programmes with the all-important rally route map and much more will be available at SKYCITY.

Chris Carr adds: “We are looking forward to working with the friendly, professional SKYCITY Auckland team and our other key partner, Auckland City Council, to put on a hugely popular and successful Rally New Zealand in May this year,” says Carr. “If you love motorsport, then make sure you make the most of this opportunity to see the world’s best drivers on the world’s best rallying roads, New Zealand roads!

“Keep up to date with the latest information by signing up for our free e-newsletter on www.rallynz.org.nz.”

In 2010, Rally New Zealand’s route takes in Whangarei and Kaipara on Friday as well as a super special stage in the Auckland Domain on Friday night. Saturday’s stages take competitors to Franklin and North Waikato before Sunday’s final stages around Raglan when the iconic, scenic Whaanga Coast stage will feature once again. Rally New Zealand 2010 concludes with an exciting official finishing ceremony at Queens Wharf which is free for all to enjoy.

Footnote:  Participants in RallySport Magazine's 2010 Rally New Zealand Tour will stay at SKYCITY for the duration of the tour.

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