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The first entry has been received for the Otago Classic Rally, the same day as they were opened.  The rally is the Southern Hemisphere’s premier gravel classic rally and has a worldwide reputation for its fantastic roads, intense competition and friendly atmosphere.

Australian journalist, Peter Whitten, has entered the event in the Ford Escort RS1800 that won the event in 2002 and 2003 in the hands of Brian Stokes.  Whitten’s entry follows on from an excellent 8th overall he achieved in 2006 in a much lower specification Escort.

The Escort is owned by New Zealand’s Bryce Biggs, and has been made available through his rally car rental business.  The business focuses on supplying professionally prepared rally cars and support to international competitors.  

More and more New Zealand is being recognised internationally as a Mecca for rallying, with its thousands of kilometres of fantastic, smooth gravel roads and very competitive local drivers.  

“I’m really excited about this opportunity. A BDA Escort, New Zealand’s fantastic roads, and the Otago Classic Rally – it’s a rally driver’s heaven!” Whitten said.

The BDA Escort that Whitten will drive was last entered in the Otago event in 2005, with Kiwi rallying legend Neil Allport at the wheel.

Prominent Dunedin co-driver Roger Oakley, who sat beside Whitten in last year’s Otago Rally, will again call the pacenotes for the April 13-15 event. Sponsors who have come on board for the pair's entry in the event will be announced in the coming days.

Whitten will be reporting extensively on his experiences in the event through Australia’s authoritive rallying website www.rallysportmag.com.au  and in key UK motoring publications such as ‘Retro Ford’.

All event details for the Otago Rally, including provisional route maps and regulations are now available at www.otagorally.co.nz

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