The return of Repco Rally New Zealand for the 32nd time and after more than a decade has brought with it considerable expectations as the world’s best rally drivers return to the what is regarded as the best gravel rally roads in the world.
Repco Rally New Zealand, round 11 of the FIA World Rally Championship, takes place in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October with its base at the Repco Rally Village on the city’s renowned waterfront.
However, the rally’s telling point may well lie 35kms south east at a unique and remarkable 6.5km purpose-built stage in Whitford on private property developed by former national rally champion Andrew Hawkeswood.
The Jack’s Ridge Haunui stage, to be contested twice on the final day of Repco Rally New Zealand, will figure as the final test of the rally with the Wolf Power Stage offering extra championship points that could crown the 2022 World Rally Champion.
It will be the first time in Repco Rally New Zealand’s long history that a full special stage has been developed in a stadium-type surrounds with organisers expecting crowds of more than 10,000 to attend.
Organisers have planned a full day of entertainment, with two official stages of the Repco Rally New Zealand, supported by a showcase of historic rally cars and other iconic vehicles driven by a line-up of cross-code motorsport stars in a special event over the course.
Repco Rally New Zealand announced today the first trio of competitors to take part, comprising multi-international speedway star, Michael Pickens; legendary global drifting super-star Mad Mike Whiddett and extraordinary Southland quad-bike exponent, Ian Ffitch.
There will be more than 30 vehicles to compete over seven classes, with the full list of drivers to be announced in the coming weeks.
Repco Rally New Zealand CEO Michael Goldstein officially welcomed media and guests to a launch of the Jacks Ridge stage today.
“Motorsport fans are buzzing to have the World Rally Championship back in this country. We are going to celebrate the greatest show on dirt across Auckland with the world’s best drivers on show,” said Goldstein.
“Thanks to the Hawkeswood family, we have an incredible stadium-like stage right here on the edge of the city.
“Jacks Ridge will be a game-changer for the sport both with the viewing on offer and the spectacular action, and for that we owe an incredible debt to Andrew Hawkeswood. We’re lucky that he’s had the vision to turn this landfill into something special for the sport.”
Hawkeswood and his team allowed media and special guests a tour over the stage, and a full-speed ride over a small part of the loop, although he says his team will be hard at work over the coming weeks to add finishing touches.
Additionally, he has cleared much of the site for excellent viewing for fans and for corporate guests.
Gold Passes are already sold out for the event but individual day tickets including for the Jack’s Ridge stage are on sale.
Tickets are available here