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Battle of International Rally Championships!!

Battle of International Rally Championships!!

The 2003 Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua will be a battle between current international rally champions from around the world. Entries for the July event include a multiple Asia Pacific Rally Champion, the current Production World Rally Champion, the current European Rally Champion, and also the current New Zealand Rally Champion.

The rally which is round 2 of the 2003 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) will see the return to Rotorua of Malaysian Proton driver Karamjit Singh. The defending Asia Pacific Champion will be hoping to kick start his title defense in Rotorua after missing the first round in Canberra. Singh who is also the Production Car World Rally Champion (PWRC) is contesting both the APRC and PWRC series again this year, experience which will make him a favourite for victory following a third placed finish at Rotorua in 2002.

A first time visitor to the Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua will be German ace Armin Kremer. Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7 for the MRF Rally Team, Kremer has a wealth of experience including multiple German Rally Championships and also victory in the 2002 European Rally Championship driving a Ford Focus WRC. Kremer leads the APRC series point’s race after the first round and on his first attempt at the series.

Adding to the international flavour is Italian driver Nico Caldarola. A regular front runner in the APRC, Nico will be making his third appearance at Rotorua entered in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 7. Caldarola is the current Asia Pacific Production Class Champion, and will also have support from team mate Norberto Cangani as part of the Italian Top Run Rally Team.

The international drivers and teams will all be watching the stage times of one driver throughout the rally. Manawatu’s Bruce Herbert, the current New Zealand Rally Champion has one the event for the last four years. Driving a Subaru Impreza, Herbert has been able to establish an early break on the field each year in the Motu stages. Once again he heads to the event leading the national championship title race but the competition including Todd Bawden (Auckland), Geoff Argyle (Manawatu) and Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) is closing in on his championship lead.

Chairman of the organising committee Laurie Brenssell stated, "The quality of the international field in this year’s event is superb, while also being very equally matched. Add in the best of the local drivers and any of ten drivers could be classed as winners. It’s going to be a great rally."

The Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua begins with a ceremonial start in City Focus on the evening of 10th July, followed by three legs of competition in the Motu, Kawerau and Rotorua districts, concluding on the afternoon of Sunday 13th July back at City Focus.

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