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International Rally returns to Rotorua

MEDIA RELEASE 1 – For immediate release

International Rally returns to Rotorua

The city of Rotorua will play host to the stars of international rallying once again for the seventh successive year, when the Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua roars into action on the 9th and 10th of July. The event will be round three of the six round FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, which includes events in Australia, New Caledonia, Japan, China, and Indonesia.

The 2004 event will incorporate a new two day format beginning with a ceremonial start from City Focus in the heart of Rotorua on the evening of Thursday 8th July. The competitive action begins the following morning as crews head towards Opotiki via a new stage at Matahuru and then onto the traditional stages at Rotoehu and Manawahe. After service at Opotiki the demanding Motu Road stage awaits. Previously contested as two stages in past years, this year, crews will complete the twisty gorge pass as one 47km test. Service at Matawai is then followed by the classic Whakarau and Raukaroa stages before returning to the overnight parc ferme on the Rotorua Lakefront.

Saturday’s leg two begins in the Waiotapu Forest with a further group of public road stages before a final loop of stages in the Kaingaroa Forest. A central service park will be based at Kawerau throughout the day. The surviving crews will then return to City Focus in Rotorua for the ceremonial finish and traditional victory spraying of champagne.

Event Chairman Laurie Brenssell commented: “The new format for 2004 has been adopted due to competitor’s wishes for a more compact format. Our organising committee have done a great job to ensure the event still retains the same amount of competitive distance over two legs. The public can be assured of some great competition as our local national championship competitors go head to head with the international stars from the Asia Pacific Championship.

The Hella Battery Town sponsored event is the single largest event in the Bay of Plenty region. The 2003 rally injected an estimated $5.3 million into the local economy, generating 1500 hotel bed nights with an event attendance of 10,000 people. This in addition to the 1.2 billion television audience broadcasted throughout the world.

Image attached: 2003 Hella Battery Town Rally of Rotorua winner, Bruce Herbert and Rob Ryan, Subaru Impreza. Photo Credit: Brian Young, Power Pictures

ENDS

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