Rovanperä claims title and youngest winner at Repco Rally New Zealand

Kalle Rovanperä has become the youngest driver to claim the FIA World Rally Championship after dominating the Repco Rally New Zealand in Auckland today.

The 22-year-old wrapped up the world title with two events in hand, set-up with a superb performance in the wildly wet conditions on Saturday and he controlled things with a maturity beyond his years today.

He was fastest in two of the four stages, second fastest in the other two which culminated with a stunning victory in the final stage which doubled as the Wolf Power stage, earning additional bonus points at the exciting Jacks Ridge Huanui stage.

Rovanperä becomes the first Finn to win the world championship in two decades, and his win in Auckland, his fourth of the year, was one better place than his father Harri achieved in the 2002 Rally New Zealand.

“It’s quite a big relief after such a big season. My biggest thanks go to the team. They made this rocket this year reliable and fast car, and even after some difficult rallies they always believed in us and keep giving us support,” said Rovanperä.

Thanks to the team and everyone out there a big thank you. To all my sponsors and my friends who have been there from the start, that is the biggest “thing when we started rallying.

The victory also propelled his Toyota Gazoo Racing team into a significant advantage in the battle of the manufacturers.

Kalle Rovanpera (FIN) Jonne Halttunen (FIN) of team Toyota Gazoo Racing are seen performing during the World Rally Championship New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand on 2, October // Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202210020107 // Usage for editorial use only //

His teammate, eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier held solid in second place to shield Rovanperä from the chasing Ott Tänak (Hyundai) who has been chasing down the differential for the last three WRC events.

The Hyundai driver however was gracious in defeat.

“We had quite a good weekend. This weekend yes or no, Kalle and Toyota have been very, very strong. They have beaten everybody fair and square, no question at all. Hopefully everything goes well for Kalle and congratulations to Harri – he has done a great job as a father to raise up such a kid. He should be very proud of him.”

Rovanperä and Tänak, along with Ogier, shared the spoils on the four stages today – double loops of Whitford Forest and the exciting Jacks Ridge, a purpose-built stadium-stage In front of 13,000 fans.

Rovanperä was fastest through special stage 16 at Whitford Forest while Tänak won the first run through Jacks Ridge. Ogier took out the repeat run at Whitford Forest while Rovanperä, able to coast home for the win, instead pushed hard to pip Tänak by 0.6s to claim the power stage at Jacks Ridge.

The young Finn finished Repco Rally New Zealand with a 34.6s margin to teammate Ogier, with 48.5s to Tanak.

There was plenty to celebrate for Kiwi rally fans with Hayden Paddon, the former PWRC world champion and a WRC winner in Argentina, dominating the WRC2 category and in doing so finished  a remarkable sixth place overall.

Along the way he cemented his sixth New Zealand Rally Championship, and again showed his international class, with his focus now on the development of the first all-electric rally car and his pathway back to the top echelon of the sport.

“It has been a very long two and a half days, since stage three we’ve been trying to manage it and not do anything silly, as much as we would have loved to be pushing it on these roads,” said Paddon.

“Awesome weekend, huge thanks to our team, to Hyundai New Zealand and everyone who made this programme possible. It’s a big tick in the box. I am very, very happy to get this done.”

Paddon Hayden (NZ) , Kennard John (NZ) are seen performing during the World Rally Championship New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand on 2, October // Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202210020101 // Usage for editorial use only //

Paddon dominated the WRC2 final day, winning three of the four stages to claim the honours by a massive 2m33s from Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz with a remarkable third place to fellow kiwi Shane van Gisbergen at 3:25 behind the winner.

“This is not tough – I am driving a rally car in the World Rally Championship – it’s pretty cool,” said van Gisbergen. “Glen and I have had a great time. Thanks to our team, and our supporters. I am living my dream and so to get a podium then I am stoked. I have had a ball.”

Van Gisbergen has little time to draw breath, flying out on Monday for Bathurst where the current Supercars championship leader will attempt to win for the second time at the Mountain.

While the event had to cope with a drenching on Friday, there has been widespread praise from WRC teams and drivers on the return to what many consider the best rallying roads in the world.

Organisers are already involved in discussions to enable a more regular place on the WRC calendar in the future for the event that has brought in many millions of dollars of new money to the local economy.


Rovanperä eyes world title, Paddon impresses at Repco Rally New Zealand

Flying Finn, Kalle Rovanperä celebrated his 22nd birthday in style, withstanding the sodden surfaces north of Auckland to establish a massive advantage with one day remaining in Repco Rally New Zealand.

A bigger prize is within reach for Rovanperä, with one hand on FIA World Rally Championship title in the chase to become the youngest-ever world champion.

In the current standings, Rovanperä is leading by 29 seconds to Toyota teammate Sébastien Ogier second and title rival Ott Tänak third, 46.4s from the leader.  If positions remain unchanged, then the young Finn has a strong chance of claiming the world championship at Jacks Ridge on Sunday.

Rovanperä will have the helpful buffer with teammate Ogier sandwiched between the leader and rival Tänak, who had to endure a day of frustrations.

“What can I say. Why we need to find positives very day from negatives, “ said Tänak. “It has not been one of the best days – quite a bad day. We are still there in third place.”

Rovanperä was pleased with his day in the conditions although his conservative approach on the final stage was unsettling.

“I was backing off on this one and it straight away felt bad. I was not enjoying it but we are here and we had a great day. I can be happy how we did in these really difficult conditions.”

“It has been a really tricky day but quite enjoyable. When you are doing good times then you enjoy it. I always seem to enjoy the conditions with tricky weather. And our car is very good in these conditions. I always know that in these conditions you can take some time if you have a perfect stage. Of course, there are risks with that.

“I will try to concentrate on tomorrow like a normal day. We have four short stages that are tricky. Let’s see what we can do.- Tomorrow is a bit different. There will be different grip and the Power Stage is more hand-made that the other stages.”

It proved a day of high drama as rain lashed Auckland overnight and throughout the six stages in the Kaipara Hills-Hibiscus Coast region north of the city as drivers battled the conditions.

It was doubly difficult for the Hyundai team, with penalties to Tänak, Thierry Neuville, and Oliver Solberg for hybrid boost infringements from Friday, which significantly dented the challenge to Rovanperä, despite the young Finn also being penalised for the same issue on Saturday.

The drama did not stop there with an improving opening two stages for M-Sport Ford driver Gus Greensmith ending when he somersaulted after hitting a bank which forced the cancellation of the short 5.8km Stage 10 at Komokoriki.

Toyota’s Elfyn Evans has been a mix of serious speed with misfortune, significantly damaged his car in the same stage, and although they managed to return to the service park, they were unable to continue for the afternoon re-run of the same stages.

Hayden Paddon in action at Repco Rally New Zealand. (Credit: Jaanus Ree, Red Bull Content Pool)

There was considerable success for Hayden Paddon, who sewed up the national championship after the first day of the event, as he pushed well clear in the WRC2 category and finished the day in sixth place overall.

The Hyundai driver takes a 2m04s advantage into the final day over Skoda’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz with an equally admirable effort from Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen, who lies third 3:09 back from Paddon, after a flat tyre slowed his progress.

“That was a clean tidy day, no mistakes,” said Paddon. “These were not the conditions to take risks. We took a couple of spare tyres on-board today just in case. I am happy with how the day has gone.”

Tomorrow’s final stage is the shorted with two runs through the 8.82km Whitford Forest and the exciting 6.77km Jacks Ridge Haunui, the purpose-built stadium-like stage with the second run doubling as the Wolf Power Stage offering bonus points.


Important Information for fans going to Jack’s Ridge Haunui Wolf Power Stage:

Please see essential information below:

#1: Car Share: Please car pool where possible. With the significant weather we have limited car parking so please join with your mates and travel together. If you have a 4WD Car, please bring this along as some paddocks are very wet.  

#2: Be Prepared: Gates open at 7am, Please ensure you don’t leave it until mid-morning to start making your journey. Demonstration cars start 10am and stage 15 starts at midday but we strongly encourage you to arrive well in advance. 

#3 – Be Rain Ready.

  • Umbrella’s
  • Windbreaker’s
  • Weather Proof clothes 
  • Gumboots
  • Make sure you’re ready to witness the event as comfortable as possible 

#4: Passes: Please ensure you have your passes printed or digitally ready on your phone.

#5 Where to go? Please ensure you use the right roads for the ticket you have. There are road closures in place and if you do not use the right entry, it will be a long detour. 

  • Gold Pass Parking = Enter Via Whitford Park Road
    (via Whitford / Sandstone Road roundabout)
  • VIP Parking = Enter Via Whitford Park Road
    (via Whitford / Sandstone Road roundabout)
  • GA Parking = Via Brookby Road
    (Use Manurewa Hill Road / Takanini exits)
  • Disabled Parking = Via Brookby Road
    (Use Manurewa Hill Road / Takanini exits) 

Be safe on the roads and we look forward to hosting you tomorrow.


Repco Rally New Zealand advise sell-out for final day

Repco Rally New Zealand organisers have put up the full-house sign for the final day of the FIA World Rally Championship event at Jack’s Ridge.

Organisers are capping attendance to 13,000 for the purpose-built venue at Jack’s Ridge Haunui which looks set to decide the champion for the rally.

With the weather this week and expected for tomorrow, fans are strongly encouraged to car pool where possible and to come prepared for the elements with waterproof and warm clothing and gumboots. 

Fans who want to get up-close to the cars and drivers, are reminded there is free access to the Service Park in Wynyard Quarter, to meet the crews and check out your favourite drivers who will return from 6.30pm.

Find all detailed information on


Lance Hastie

Press Officer

PH: +64 21329909 | E:


Tänak leads tight battle, Paddon impresses in Repco Rally New Zealand

Estonia’s Ott Tänak, chasing his third victory in four events on the FIA World Rally Championship, will take the lead into the penultimate day of Repco Rally New Zealand after a day of drama and fluctuating fortunes.

Tänak was the last of five lead changes on the longest day of the WRC this year, with 159km of competitive racing comprising double runs through the icon Whaanga Coast and two stages through Te Akau South and North.

The 34-year-old, who won recent back-to-back WRC events in Finland and Belgium, leads a tight battle in the WRC1 class where the leading four drivers are within seven seconds after a long day that started at5.45am and returned to the Auckland waterfront base at 7.45pm.

The field battled the long stages, and testing weather conditions with rain providing a significant challenge along with tyre wear on the day where only refuelling was allowed.

Tänak (Hyundai) leads by just 0.2s from a trio of Toyota Gazoo Racing rivals led by Great Britain’s Elfyn Evans, 6.7s to eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier and 7.2s to championship leader Kalle Rovanperä.

“It was quite good today with no mistakes so I was quite happy,” said Rovanperä. “It was loose in some places and our tyre is definitely done but overall ok.:

Teammate Ogier, who had worked his way into the lead before losing way on the final stage with wearing tyres and handling, after he knocked his rear spoiler off on the penultimate stage.

“Obviously we lost a lot without wings on the last lap,” said the disappointed former champion.

Highlight for New Zealand fans comes in the WRC2 class where Hayden Paddon built up a lead of over one minute on Skoda’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), currently fourth in the competition standings, with Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen enjoying his first WRC rally outing to be third, 35 seconds back.

Tänak was initially dominant in his Hyundai i20 N and opened-up a slender advantage as heavy downpours plagued the morning’s stages on gravel roads in the Waikato Region.

When the rain clouds briefly parted ahead of the second pass of Whaanga Coast, however, the Estonian driver was hampered by an early road position and struggled for traction as the surface dried and became loose.

He was passed by Toyota Gazoo Racing star Elfyn Evans as well as the Welshman’s part-time colleague Ogier who, aided by a lower starting position, climbed from fifth to first overall after outpacing the entire field by 8.2sec while managing his soft compound Pirelli rubber to perfection.

Wet weather returned for the closing two speed tests and Ogier soon came unstuck – brushing a tree branch with the rear end of his Yaris which ripped the upper half of the spoiler from the car.

That enabled Tänak to crank up the pressure and he stormed back in front with a stage win on the final test as Ogier struggled with reduced rear aero, ending 6.7sec adrift of the lead. Evans’ consistency was rewarded and he swooped into the runner-up spot – trailing the leader by just two-tenths of a second.

“The conditions were actually not so bad,” said Tänak. We were definitely very lucky to get the day in today otherwise like we saw on the long stage, where Seb took like 20 seconds off us in the dry, it would have been all stages like this. 

“The roads are really fun but they are difficult to get in the rhythm. You really need to have good confidence to have a good flow. It seems like the weather is coming in quite strong tomorrow so I guess, a few seconds at the moment doesn’t mean anything.”

Road-opening duties eventually played to Rovanperä’s advantage as the Toyota hotshot avoided the worst of a heavy shower on the penultimate stage, to finish just 0.5sec behind Ogier in fourth overall.

M-Sport Ford’s pair were initially dominant as Craig Breen and Gus Greensmith locked out the top-two after the opener. Things quickly turned sour, however, when Breen retired after sliding down a banking on the same corner which caught out the great Colin McRae in 2002.

Greensmith was left flying the flag for the British squad and he coped admirably to end the day 36.6sec back from Rovanperä in fifth, after he won his first-ever gravel stage in the WRC with the mornng pass through Whaanga Coast.

Paddon was pleased with his efforts, moving into the top-10 overall.

“We had a bad tyre on the right rear and front left – but overall it was a good day and we were not taking risks, but we had to work for it because the conditions were tough,” said the Hyundai driver.

Van Gisbergen, realising a long-held dream of competing at a major rally, enjoyed the massive first-day challenge.

“Well I didn’t crash. It was an awesome day and I am living my dream,” he said. “I would like to make less mistakes tomorrow but overall it was really cool and an awesome day, especially that second pass through Whaanga Coast.”

Competitors journey north of rally base Auckland on Saturday for double runs through Kaipara Hills (15.83km), Puhoi (22.50km) and Komokoriki (5.81km). A return to Auckland for service separates the loops, which add up to 88.28km.

Leading positions after Friday:
1. O Tänak / M Järveoja EST Hyundai i20 N 1hr 36min 48.6sec
2. E Evans / S Martin GBR Toyota GR Yaris +0.2sec
3. S Ogier / B Veillas FRA Toyota GR Yaris +6.7sec
4. K Rovanperä / J Halttunen FIN Toyota GR Yaris +7.2sec
5. G Greensmith / J Andersson GBR Ford Puma +43.8sec
6. T Neuville / M Wydaeghe BEL Hyundai i20 N +45.6sec


Repco Rally New Zealand returns with much international enthusiasm

The FIA World Rally Championship returns with considerable enthusiasm for Repco Rally New Zealand starting with the ceremonial opening and super special stage at Pukekawa Auckland Domain.

Leading drivers today spoke glowingly of the famed flowing gravel roads of New Zealand following two and a half days of reconnaissance.  The opening day on Friday is a significant test for all drivers with 159km of competitive stages distance including a double run on the world-famous Whaanga Coast.

Eight-time world champion Sébastien Ogier, who has returned part-time to the WRC, always ear-marked a start in New Zealand.

“I’ve been here only once but I think when you compete here once, you definitely want to come back. It’s beautiful roads to drive in a world rally car. After 10 years it remains beautiful, so I think the decision to come here is definitely a good one and now I want to enjoy the weekend,” said Ogier.

There will be interest in championship leader Kalle Rovanperä who can wrap up the title with victory by more than eight points in New Zealand, to become the sport’s youngest champion and better his father Harri, who finished on the podium twice in New Zealand.

“The stages are really nice. I think if you really get everything right, you will enjoy them,” said Rovanperä, who believes his biggest test will come on the lengthy first day.

“I will be opening the road, it’s a really long day, lots of loose gravel on some stages on some parts, so for sure I think it’s not going to be easy to be first car there and we need to try to focus on Friday to make a good job.” 

The 21-year-old Finn will be joined by Toyota GR Yaris teammates Elfyn Evans, in third place in the championship, Takamoto Katsuta and the return of Ogier.

It will be Ogier’s second time competing in New Zealand after the Frenchman was runner-up in 2010 after he spun just 3km from the final of the final stage.

Hyundai Motorsport i20 N team is led by current second placed Ott Tänak and fourth placed Thierry Neuville, and joined by the Category’s youngest driver, 20-year-old Oliver Solberg, whose father Petter won the event back in 2004.

The M-Sport Ford has four Ford Pumas in action with Craig Breen, Gus Greensmith, the returning Adrien Fourmaux with Italian privateer Lorenzo Granai making his WRC1 debut.

There is much interest in the WRC2 category, led by Kiwi star Hayden Paddon in a Hyundai i20 N Rally2. Others New Zealanders in this class include two-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen, realising a life-long ambition, along with two national rally champions in New Zealand’s Ben Hunt and Australia’s Harry Bates.

“I’m actually just looking forward to being back in the car tomorrow and actually just mallow out – put the helmet on, put the phone away and forget about everything else and just relax and enjoy some of these awesome stages,” said Paddon.

It is more of a treat for van Gisbergen, who will head back to Australia next week to defend his Supercars title at Bathurst next weekend.

“It is pretty cool to be here and have the car on show. It is special to be in the line-up with these guys and all the WRC1 cars as well. It is pretty surreal,” said van Gisbergen.

“I have to focus on the driving. I still have a lot to learn. The notes – you can’t write enough. I don’t know what I need to process. Whaanga Coast – I have never done it before and was just taking it in on the first pass.

“I am just trying to enjoy it all.”

There are 11 cars in the RC1 class and 18 in RC2, while there are a full field competing in the New Zealand Rally Championship.

Teams have undertaken three days of official reconnaissance, with a shakedown test on Thursday ahead of the official opening and Super Special Stage.

Day one proper is in Raglan and Te Akau regions, with day two in the Nor-West and Hibiscus Coast region 

Day three of the Repco Rally New Zealand will be on roads in North West Auckland and Hibiscus Coast, with three special stages repeated on Saturday 1 October.

On the back of significant ticket sales, organisers advise fans to purchase general admission tickets for the Jack’s Ridge stages, with park and ride with admission at $59.



WRC Driver Line Up Confirmed

Flying Finn, kiwi icons among stellar field for Repco Rally New Zealand

Finnish find Kalle Rovanperä, chasing a place in sporting history, heads the entry list announced today for this month’s FIA Repco Rally New Zealand.

The 21-year-old Rovanperä, current leader in the FIA World Rally Championship, could potentially wrap up the title with co-driver Jonne Halttunen when the 11th round is staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.

In doing so Rovanpera, who has seven WRC victories to his credit already in his fledgling career, would become the youngest champion in the sport’s history.

He heads the international list of drivers and co-drivers from 13 nations to contest Repco Rally New Zealand, the 32nd time the championship has been staged in this country, and the first time in over a decade.

Rovanperä has turned heads since becoming the youngest driver to win a WRC event when he prevailed in Estonia at age 20 in 2021.

The name is well-known in rallying circles with the Toyota Gazoo Racing driver the son of long-time WRC driver Harri Rovanperä, who finished on the podium twice at Rally New Zealand.

His teammate and eight-time world champion, Sebastien Ogier will no doubt be motivated to extend his remarkable record of 54 WRC victories, and remove New Zealand from the small list of rally venues where he has not stood on the top of the podium.

The powerful Toyota Gazoo Racing team also includes Welshman Elfyn Evans, who has five WRC wins and 23 podiums to his credit, and Japan’s former karting and Formula 3 standout, Takamoto Katsuta. He came through the Toyota development programme under the watchful eye of Tommi Makinen, a four-time world champion.

The Hyundai challenge is led by Ott Tänak, the 2019 world champion from Estonia, and the experienced Belgian driver Thierry Neuville, who has 15 WRC rally wins since his debut in 2009.

Their team is rounded out with Sweden’s exciting 20-year-old Oliver Solberg, the 2020 FIA European Junior Champion, who is the son of 2003 world champion and fan favourite, Petter Solberg.

The M-Sport Ford challenge is headed by Ireland’s Craig Breen, who has scored two podiums this year, and England’s Gus Greensmith, a promising youth footballer at Manchester City, and 2014 British Junior Rally Champion.

The Ford team also includes Adrien Fourmaux, a former junior French Rally Champion and Italy’s Lorenzo Bertelli, who has been a regular with M-Sport for the last seven years.

There will be considerable kiwi interest in the WRC2 category, led by 2011 Production WRC Champion and five-time New Zealand Rally Champion, Hayden Paddon. He has made a return to the WRC2 this year with the support from Hyundai New Zealand.

There will be plenty of support for current Supercars Championship leader, Shane van Gisbergen, who has put together a privateer campaign to realise a dream of competing in the rally that he watched many times as a youngster.Two-time New Zealand Gold Star Champion Ben Hunt, who followed in his father’s footsteps into the sport over a decade ago, triple European Champion Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz and Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates will all be in the latest Skoda Fabia machines.

There is much talk about the remarkable purpose-built Wolf Power Stage at Jack’s Ridge, the final stage of Repco Rally New Zealand which has special significance for another New Zealand competitor in the New Zealand Championship class in Jack Hawkeswood. It is his father Andrew who has led the project to build both a 7km stage and associated infrastructure on his land, with son Jack having spent countless hours in its construction.

“Rally fans have long awaited the return of the World Rally Championship to New Zealand, and we are thrilled with the quality of drivers venturing to our shores,” said Repco Rally New Zealand CEO, Michael Goldstein.

“The best of the best are coming, both rising superstars like Kalle Rovanperä, and the incomparable Sebastien Ogier in the WRC1 class.

“The WRC2 challenge will be intense and obviously will get a lot of local attention with the kiwis in the field, led by Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen.

“We have some epic and iconic stages that the likes of Sebastien Ogier have said are the best in the world. And we have the world’s best drivers doing battle in these remarkable hi-tech hybrid cars.

“We are excited that New Zealand sporting fans will have the opportunity to see these drivers and cars in action, while 80 million people from 150 countries will tune in around the globe to watch it all unfold amid our wonderful and unique New Zealand landscape.”

Overall there are 11 entrants in the WRC1 elite category, 12 in WRC2 including kiwi stars Hayden Paddon and Shane van Gisbergen, with six other kiwis also in the international field.

Full Entry List here
These crews are supported by 46 additional entries in the New Zealand Rally Championship field, so 75 cars will assemble at the Pukekawa Auckland Domain Start on the evening of Thursday September 29th.

Limited tickets are available now at




Sébastien Ogier to feature at Repco Rally New Zealand

Eight-time world champion Ogier lines up in Repco Rally New Zealand

Eight-time World Champion, Sébastien Ogier has confirmed he will line-up in this month’s Repco Rally New Zealand.

The reigning World Champion from France, racing a part-time basis for his Toyota Gazoo Racing team in the FIA World Rally Championship this year, is keen to return to one of his favourite rallies on the world calendar.

The 11th round of the 2022 FIA World Rally Championship returns to New Zealand for the 32nd time and first occasion in 11 years, staged in and around Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.

Ogier will make his fourth start of the season, and after 54 WRC victories in 19 different rallies around the world, he returns to one of just a handful of venues where he has not tasted victory.

“Rally New Zealand was on the top of the list of rallies that I wanted to do this year,” said Ogier. “I have only done this rally once before. The rally itself is really beautiful. Your roads are one of the best in the world for rallying. And I fell in love with the diverse and beautiful nature of the country.”

Ogier was involved in one of the most storied finishes in Rally New Zealand history in 2010 when he was within grasp of his first WRC victory. The Frenchman led by over six seconds going into the final stage on the iconic Whaanga Coast stage near Raglan, when he spun three corners from the finish, gifting the win to Finland’s Jari-Matti Latvala, now his team boss at Toyota-Gazoo Racing.

Despite competing less often this year, Ogier has lost none of his desire for success in New Zealand and remembers his 2010 experience vividly.

“It was tough to take back in 2010 because I was chasing my first win. It is always a very important step in your career. I was lucky that three weeks later I had my first win at Rally Portugal so I did not have to wait too long.

“There is still some unfinished business in New Zealand and another reason to come back. Even if I am not competing fulltime, I expect to be competitive and hopefully enjoy more victories in the future.”

The key for Ogier is the unique gravel roads in this country.
“The rally roads in New Zealand are magic to drive. In Europe we do not have this camber on the roads where you are dancing along the road and it has a nice flow to drive. That is so attractive to a rally driver.”

Rally New Zealand Chairman, Peter Johnston said the organisation is honoured to host Ogier at the event.

“We are thrilled that Sébastien has chosen to come back to race in New Zealand,” said Johnston. “We boast about our roads, our scenery and our people but it is a real credit to hear it from one of the absolute legends of the sport as the reason he is coming back.

“We thank the many New Zealanders on who live and travel on the rally route. They can share in the success of this event, especially with the knowledge that the world’s best, like Sébastien Ogier, hold these roads in such high regard.

“What’s more, there will be a global audience of around 80 million people in 150 countries watching the action on these spectacular roads and showing off our beautiful country.”

All information on the rally, including itinerary, rally routes and timings and tickets can be found on

Tickets are available here




Jack’s Ridge stage adds unique qualities for Repco Rally New Zealand

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


Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates enters WRC’s Rally NZ to battle Hayden Paddon

Current Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates will make his WRC debut next month, having entered Rally New Zealand.

Bates will compete in the WRC2 category in the biggest opportunity of his career to date and he’ll go up against New Zealand’s Hayden Paddon, who’ll be driving his Hyundai i20, plus other international drivers.

In what will also be Bates’ first ever rally outside of Australia, he will have a familiar voice calling the notes, with co-driver John McCarthy to sit beside him.

While it will be a familiar driving partnership, Bates and McCarthy will not compete in their regular Toyota GR Yaris AP4, instead getting behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia Rally2 evo.

Although the duo represent Toyota Gazoo Racing Australia in the Australia Rally Championship (ARC), Toyota do not produce an eligible WRC2 car, forcing the reigning champions to look at other options for the 17-stage rally.

Australian Rally Champion Harry Bates will be driving a Skoda Fabia around New Zealand roads next month.

“I’m a competitor and I love a new challenge, so for me it’s super exciting to be up against talented WRC regulars and the likes of highly respected Kiwis such as Hayden Paddon, Shane van Gisbergen and Ben Hunt in their home rally – John and I can’t wait to test ourselves against some of the best,” Bates said.

“It’s been months of hard work for our small team to get to this point, and I am so fortunate and humbled to have the help and support from people in Australia as well as overseas.

“I must also thank Toyota Australia for their support in allowing me to take this opportunity.”

Rally New Zealand will take place in Auckland from 29 September to 2 October.