The World Rally Championship returns to New Zealand after a decade.
The Repco-sponsored Rally New Zealand will run from September 29 to October 2 this year, it was announced on Thursday. The Rally Village and Service Park will be located in Auckland’s Wynyard Point and Wynyard Quarter.
The Rally Championship was due to return in 2020 but was canceled due to Covid.
New Zealander Hayden Paddon, now driving for Hyundai, and Emma Gilmour are confirmed starters, but the question remains whether French rally legends Sebastien Loeb and Sebastien Ogier, who have won 17 world championships together, will make the trip to Auckland.
“The event has taken five years and it has taken an extraordinary amount of hard work and discussion to bring the WRC back to New Zealand,” said Michael Goldstein, General Manager of Rally New Zealand.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the Rally Village on Auckland’s seafront was an appropriate way to celebrate the opening of New Zealand’s borders after two years of heavy Covid restrictions.
“The FIA World Rally Championship will attract thousands of visitors and spectators to our city center and will provide a welcome boost to businesses affected by the lockdowns and border closures,” he said.
Paddon said he’s looking forward to driving New Zealand’s world-famous gravel roads and welcoming international riders.