Weather forces change to Rally NZ stages
- 25th August 2008, 3:25pm
Clerk of the course Willard Martin says organisers have been working closely with roading engineers in all four districts in which the rally’s “rural stages” are run.
“We’ve been out assessing each and every one of the rally stages in the Otorohanga, Waitomo, Raglan and Franklin Districts over the past few weeks,” says Martin. “Naturally, access for residents takes priority on any roads that require repairs, but we do work closely with councils to ensure the successful running of our event.”
The stage that has been most affected is the rally’s longest, Waitomo, which is run twice on Friday as special stage numbers two and four, or SS2 and SS4. Starting at Te Rauamoa, inland of Kawhia Harbour, the stage would normally run for 43.98 km through Kaimango and Hauturu Roads to meet up with the main Waitomo road a few kilometres from Waitomo itself.
“Eighty metres of road were lost when a large area of farm land slumped about 50 metres,” explains Martin. “The Waitomo Council has been able to construct a temporary road through this section to provide access for local farmers and we are very thankful for their considerable efforts.
“The Waitomo stage will now be run as two stages, part one up to the landslide – a distance of 25.85 km – and part two starting on the other side for a distance of 17.36 km.”
The route change has repercussions throughout the rally’s organisation. Additional start and finish timing control points must be created, detailed road books for competitors updated and the change accommodated in event’s results system. However the two spectator points on this stage are not affected and rally fans wanting to get out and watch New Zealand Rally Championship and the numerous other local competitors take on the world’s best from the World Rally Championship and Production WRC can still go to the prime spectator area accessed from Hauturu and the other spectator point at the end of part two of the stage off Te Anga Road.
“As far as our internal systems are concerned, SS2 Castrol Waitomo will now be SS2.1 and SS2.2 and SS4 Castrol Waitomo will now be SS4.1 and SS4.2. However the official results system will show consecutive stage numbering with the regular stage number in brackets,” says Martin.
“Many other roads are very soft from the rain and we are continuing to assess the situation.”
Repco Rally New Zealand runs from 28 to 31 August as the 11th round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship.
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