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Spectator Safety Once Again The Focus

Spectator Safety Once Again The Focus

As is the case every year, spectator safety is once again paramount as organisers prepare for Propecia Rally New Zealand starting on Thursday this week.

With approximately 250,000 fans expected to watch the event, Chief Safety Officer Paul Mallard has one of the toughest and yet one of the most rewarding jobs.

“Spectator safety is a major component in planning for the event. Unlike circuit racing we do not have the benefit of Armco barriers, catch fencing and gravel traps. We need to incorporate the natural environment of the route in our planning,” Mallard said.

“Before determining if a location is suitable we need to consider the potential path of the cars and from there we can decide if the area is safe for spectators. We are confident we have achieved this, and provided some fantastic rally action this year.”

Mallard confirmed that the emphasis on safety is not accidental and requires a great deal of planning and investment in people and resources.

“We utilise the services of nine special safety advisers, three safety cars that traverse the stages before the rally cars, two safety helicopters who shadow the cars and a fully equipped medical helicopter.”

“All of this is in addition to the FIA Safety Delegate who travels the world attending each round of the WRC, surveying the events safety procedures.”
The Propecia-sponsored event begins with a ceremonial start at Waitemata Plaza on the Viaduct on Thursday 7 April. Fans can enjoy a Motorsport Show, driver autograph signings and an official Maori challenge before cars cross the ramp from 7.30pm.

The first full days on Friday and Saturday are in the Kaipara region before returning for two super special stages at Manukau City on Saturday evening, with the last day in the Waikato region near Raglan. The final stage will be the internationally acclaimed Whaanga Coast, with the ceremonial finish at Waitemata Plaza on the viaduct on Sunday afternoon.

Propecia Rally New Zealand Hair Raising Statistic #9
In another show of great community support for Rally NZ, the schools in the Paparoa and Maungaturoto region will close on Friday April 8 as buses cannot compete with the drivers on closed roads!

Drivers Arrive
Drivers, teams and media have already begun arriving in New Zealand for the event and Rally organizers have converged on the Langham Hotel in Auckland to set up headquarters.

Teams will undergo reconnaissance on Tuesday and Wednesday while shakedown takes place on Thursday April 7 (WRC cars at Paparoa) before the ceremonial start and motorsport show at Waitemata Plaza (Viaduct Harbour) from 4pm that same day.

Propecia Rally NZ, April 7-10.

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