Record crowds bring new safety measures
Record crowds bring new safety measures for Rally New Zealand
The growing popularity of rallying has led to organisers of this week’s Propecia Rally New Zealand to step up safety procedures for the event.
They have set up special spectator viewing in compliance with the international regulations for the event that begins in Auckland this Thursday.
Last year’s event attracted an estimated 300,000 spectators over the three days on the rally route. Organisers are expecting big crowds to again turn out with the new autumn date for the rally, two days based in the same area in Kaipara north of Auckland and a high class entry which will provide some spectacular viewing.
Rally New Zealand chairman Morrie Chandler said the main change is to provide designated viewing areas, rather than specifying restricted areas only.
``All areas not specifically designated for spectator viewing are regarded as “no go” areas,” Chandler said.
“This is in keeping with the new international regulations which have been brought into force this year.
``In most cases there will be no spectator opportunities at the starts and finishes of the stages. To compensate this, however, we have ensured that there are substantial opportunities for spectators to go viewing in dedicated spectator areas.’’
Rally New Zealand has undertaken specific training programmes for marshals and in addition will close the roads to public access earlier than in previous years to ensure there is ample opportunities to set up viewing points.’’
Chandler said last year’s two incidents, involving the WRC’s own television production crew, was not the reason for the change. However FIA and Rally New Zealand officials have established tighter guidelines for television and media helicopter access on the special stages.
Propecia Rally New Zealand gets underway with the official shakedown near Helensville and ceremonial start in Aotea Square in downtown Auckland on Thursday April 10.
The rally proper starts on Friday with the service park for the first two days centred on the Kaipara township of Paparoa, north of Auckland. The drivers return for the popular super special stage at Manukau City on Saturday evening. Sunday’s final day moves to the northern Waikato at Te Akau and Maramarua Forest before the official finish at the Manukau Sportsbowl at 3.30pm. Full information is available on www.rallynz.org.nz.