Otago offers hardcore rallying in 2008
Next year’s Rally of Otago will offer competitors real hardcore rallying, with over 270km of special stages, including a monster 51km stage in the Berwick pine plantation.
Organisers from the Otago Sports Car Club will introduce 80km of new roads for the 2008 event, including Kai Forest, Coal Gully Road, Moonlight and Ramrock.
Moonlight and Ramrock — both public road stages — have never been used
by the club in a New Zealand Rally Championship round before, while
Coal Gully Road is a never-before-used public road stage. Similarly,
the Kai Forest will offer ‘virgin’ rally roads for all competitors.
Only Kuri Bush and the super special stage in Dunedin remain unchanged
from the 2007 event, yet all the signature Otago Rally stages will
again be used — Waipori Gorge, Whare Flat, Kuri Bush and the tarmac
To be held on May 10 and 11 next year, the Otago Rally gets under way
with a 34km stage in the Akatore Forest. As usual, the event will
utilise a mixture of public road and forest stages, which has made the
event so popular in the past.
Seven stages make up Leg 1, which finishes with the tarmac super
special stage after 142km of competitive driving. The rally again loops
back to the central service park at Lake Waihola during the day.
Only six stages make up day two, but the 30km Ramrock Road stage starts
the day. Crews then wind their way up Waipori Gorge (the stage was run
downhill in 2007), before the massive 51km “Another Big Berwick” stage.
“The 51km Berwick stage should test everyone. It’s real hardcore rallying,” event spokesman, Roger Oakley said.
After a final service at Lake Waihola, crews will tackle the 1000
Lakes-like Kuri Bush, before finishing the rally in front of a big
crowd of enthusiastic spectators at Whare Flat, on the outskirts of
In all the Otago Rally entails 13 special stages over 273km. The
friendly timetable makes the rally a breeze for service crews, and as
in previous years, crews in the Classic Rally or the Rally Xtreme class
can restart if they retire from the rally.
Organisers are also planning a Friday night motor show, with details to
be announced in the coming weeks. Competitor assistance packages are
also currently being finalised.
The Otago Rally is the second round of the New Zealand Rally
Championship for FIA-spec Group N cars. The Classic Rally of Otago
includes many of the cars from rallying’s heyday, such as Escort
RS1800s, Fiat 131 Abarths and Porsche 911s.
A number of Australian and European drivers are expected to travel to
New Zealand’s south island for an event that is widely regarded as one
of the best in the southern hemisphere.