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International Rally Sponsor Lights up Rotorua

25 February 2005

International Rally Sponsor Lights up Rotorua

Chairman of the International Rally of Rotorua, Laurie Brenssell, announced today that long time event sponsor Hella New Zealand Ltd have confirmed their role as prime sponsor for 2005, as the International rally returns to the city of Rotorua this June with the eighth annual running of the Hella International Rally of Rotorua. The event, which is a round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and also the New Zealand Rally Championship, will run from June 17th –19th incorporating a compact 3-day format.

The event will start from City Focus in the heart of Rotorua City at 1.00pm on Friday June 17th. Competitors will head to a group of 3 stages in the Rotoehu Forest surrounding Lake Rotoma, including the popular Manawahe stage with the spectator’s favourite vantage spot at Helicopter Corner. Cars and crew will then return to the overnight park at the Village Green on Rotorua’s Lakefront.

Saturday takes the event to the Eastern Bay of Plenty and the demanding and world famous Motu stage, before tackling the Whakarau, and Raukoroa stages with a service park at Matawai. These roads are renowned as being among the most demanding and challenging in world rallying.

The final leg on Sunday will be based around a service park in Rotorua city with two traditional forest stages to be used twice, including a spectator special in the Redwood Forests on the outskirts of Rotorua City. This is a new feature of the event for 2005 with the same stage being used twice and will provide the public with great viewing opportunities only minutes away from the central city. The event concludes with the victory celebrations on the finish ramp at City Focus in the heart of Rotorua City at 2.30pm on the afternoon of Sunday 19th June.

The event will again pitch international drivers from the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship against New Zealand’s best drivers contesting the Parker Enzed New Zealand Rally Championship. The APRC is contested over eight rounds with events in Australia, New Caledonia, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China and Rotorua.

Leading entries are expected to include 2004 APRC champion Karamjit Singh of Malaysia, Japanese Champion Katsuhiko Taguchi, and current NZ champion, Subaru NZ Team driver Chris West. The Rally is also a round of the new New Zealand/Japan Rally Challenge.

The Hella International Rally of Rotorua is the largest annual sporting event in the Bay of Plenty Region. The 2004 event injected an estimated $5.3 million into the local economy, generating 1500 motel bed nights with an event attendance of 10,000 people. This in addition to the 1.2 billion television audience broadcasted throughout Asia, Europe and the United States.

In addition to the excitement of international rallying, the organisers will repeat the popular Waiariki Institute of Technology Clubmans Rally, which incorporates a round of the CPS NZ Ltd regional rally championship.

ENDS

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