The International Rally of Whangarei is part of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), one of the premier regional championships in world rallying and is contested by teams from New Zealand, Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, India, New Caledonia and Sweden running primarily Super2000, Group N, or production, rally cars.
In 2016 for the ninth time the FIA Pacific Cup is running alongside the APRC at Rounds 1 and 2. The Pacific Cup is intended as a stepping stone to full APRC competition. An Asian Cup runs at other APRC Rounds.
In 2016 the APRC comprises six rounds:
- Rally of Whangarei – New Zealand 28/30 April – 1 May (Counts toward: APRC, Pacific Cup, Junior Cup)
- Rally Queensland – Australia 18-19 June (Counts toward: APRC, Pacific Cup, Junior Cup)
- China Rally 5-7 August (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup)
- Rally Hokkaido – Japan 24-25 September (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup, Junior Cup)
- Malaysian Rally 28-30 October (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup, Junior Cup)
- India Rally 9-11 December (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup)
The International Rally of Whangarei incorporates the second round of the MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC) where local teams can compete internally for NZRC points. Run as a subsidiary event it includes clubmans competitors, to incorporate those cars not compliant with the APRC international regulations. The Clubmans event also gives competitors with lower specification or older cars a way to compete in their own overall and class battles and be part of an international event without the cost of full international competition.
The event commences with an opening ceremony commencing on Friday 29 April with the following two days comprising over 242 km of competitive gravel stages in the Whangarei and Far North districts to the north of Whangarei.
The International Rally of Whangarei is run by Rally of New Zealand, organisers of the Rally New Zealand round of the World.