Otago Rally to welcome back spectators under eased restrictions
The Otago Rally has re-instated its popular Octagon start and is welcoming back spectators for its 2022 event on 8-10 April, after the Government’s decision today to ease New Zealand’s COVID restrictions.
With outdoor gathering limits scrapped from Friday and the end of vaccine pass use from April 4, the Rally will hold its annual Octagon ceremonial start from 5pm on April 8 and will encourage spectators to watch the event at the designated spectator spots on the Rally Map.
Event spokesman Roger Oakley says the easing of restrictions also means vaccine passes will no longer be required by Rally crews or officials.
“We’re excited to be able to bring back our Octagon start – which has been a popular feature of the Rally calendar for many years, and allows Dunedin locals and visitors to get up close to the cars and meet the drivers.
“Unfortunately, planning has progressed too far for us to able to bring back the Super Stage, and our Town Hall prize giving is still not possible due to the limits on numbers for indoor events, but we’re expecting these popular components of the Rally will be back in 2023.
“When we began our contingency planning for running the event at Red, we began exploring new ways to share the event better virtually, such as increasing our video coverage and introducing a new partnership with DirtFish – one of the world’s largest rallying media outlets. This will allow spectators around the world to follow the Otago Rally, which we believe is a truly unique rally event.”
The Otago Rally is the first round of the National Championship, and incorporates the popular Classic and Allcomers fields. An eagerly anticipated start to the rally season, this year the field will also include guest drivers Olympian Hamish Bond and NZ drifting star ‘Fanga’ Dan Woolhouse. The top seed is Hayden Paddon, New Zealand’s most successful driver, and he will be chased by the largest championship field seen in New Zealand for many years.
Planning is well underway for the event, which has 270km of closed-road competition over 16 stages of fast, mainly public roads.
The Otago Rally is grateful for the support of Dunedin City Council Premier Event funding.