Organisers of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship have revealed a blockbuster new-look five-round calendar.
For the first time in the series’ history, three of the five events will have an international focus
The first two rounds of the championship form part of the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship season opener, starting with the Otago Rally over 3-5 April and International Rally of Whangarei on 8-10 May.
The focus is put back on the domestic scene with the one-day Rally South Canterbury on 20 June followed by another one-day event, Rally Hawke’s Bay, on 25 July. The return of Hawke’s Bay to the calendar comes after a nine-year absence.
The season comes to a close with the return of Rally New Zealand, set for 3-6 September as part of the FIA World Rally Championship support act. It’ll be the first time the top-flight championship has headed to New Zealand shores since 2012.
One of the key features of the 2020 calendar is that it balances consistent events with logistical requirements for teams.
Events will run largely with five-week gaps, the only exception being a six-week gap between the Rally of Whangarei and Rally South Canterbury.
“We wanted to make it easier on our competitors and have worked hard to put together a schedule that caters for them,” New Zealand Rally Championship coordinator Blair Bartels said.
“It isn’t easy trying to balance the needs of the competitors with that of the individual rally organisers who need to work around all sorts of scheduling challenges.
“We are sad to see both Canterbury and Waitomo miss out next year – we were unable to make the calendar work with their requirements next season.
“We would like to thank both rallies for their efforts in 2019 and in previous years and we hope to work with them again in the future.”
The return of Rally New Zealand to the calendar is a major coup for the championship, which will get to compete on some of the country’s best road and in front of an expected record crowd.
“Our competitor’s survey indicated that there was a real desire for a five-round championship if Rally New Zealand returned and we can deliver that. Next year we add a day of competition compared to 2019 with nine days of action in total.”
“We anticipate reverting to a six-round championship in 2021 when Rally New Zealand is not on the calendar.”
2020 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship Calendar
|1||Otago Rally||3-5 April|
|2||International Rally of Whangarei||8-10 May|
|3||Rally South Canterbury||20 June|
|4||Rally Hawke’s Bay||25 July|
|5||Rally New Zealand||3-6 September|