Rally NZ coming to the Coromandel
The Coromandel will officially host one of the six legs of the New Zealand National Rally Championship in August.
"This is an amazing coup for our District and we're thrilled to finally be able to announce this after working with RALLY NZ for several months now to make this happen," says Mayor Glenn Leach. "The opportunities this is going to bring to our region are absolutely significant."
The round will be held on the Coromandel, in the Mercury Bay area from Friday 22 August - Sunday 24 August, with the official race being held on the Saturday. The event will bring 80 rally cars into the district, along with more than 1000 people involved in the event including competitors, service team and volunteers.
"That number doesn't even include spectators and supporters who come to the Coromandel to see this event," says Mayor Leach. "So the economic benefits this will bring in for our businesses and communities will be remarkable and I want to thank Rally NZ organisers for making the decision to come here," says the Mayor.
"Having more than 1,000 people staying in and around Whitianga for three nights will be a huge boost to our hospitality and accommodation providers," says Mayor Leach. "We'd also love for our ratepayers who live outside to plan to come and stay over this weekend as there'll be many opportunities to see the racing from some great viewing spots."
The event is one of six rallies the NZRC has planned for 2014, four in the North Island and two in the South Island. The national rally championship attracts national media coverage and each event is featured in a prime time television broadcast on TV3’sSunday afternoon Motorsport show.
The NZRC features New Zealand’s best rally drivers including current national champion Hayden Paddon from Geraldine, 2011 & 2012 champion Richard Mason of Masterton, and the world’s fastest female rally driver Emma Gilmour of Dunedin.
"It's refreshing for us to see a motivated Council like Thames-Coromandel, that's embracing this opportunity, and sport in general," says Peter Johnston, Rally NZ Chairman. “Rallying is different to most other sports as it is held outside of a stadium, therefore our events visit a number of areas. Not only does that spread the economic benefit as crews and spectators travel around, media coverage shows off the fantastic countryside, and the Coromandel area will provide a great setting.”
The course is still being finalised but will be around the Mercury Bay region with the majority of racing going through Ernslaw One Forestry Blocks.
"Ernslaw One has kindly allowed sections of the rally to run through its forestry complex and both our Council and the NZRC are extremely grateful to them. Ernslaw also understands what an amazing opportunity this is for our district and communities," says Mayor Leach.
The Mercury Bay Sports Multi-Sport Park will be where the cars and racing crew will be based over the weekend and the public will also be given opportunities to see the cars and crew up close during the event.