Family and friends day out opportunity at VINZ International Rally of Whangarei
Friends and family looking for something to do in the Far North and Whangarei regions this weekend have the VINZ International Rally of Whangarei to enjoy as spectators, on both Saturday and Sunday 12-13 April.
Drivers from countries such as India, Japan, China and the Czech Republic along with Australia and New Zealand will contest 14 special stages across the region’s fast and flowing roads – including the double run Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage at Whangarei’s William Fraser Memorial Park.
The opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, driven by VINZ (NZRC) and Top Half Rally Series (THS) teams compete to set fastest time across each special stage in a variety of cars from late model to those over forty years old.
A fans first opportunity to see the drivers is the signing session at Whangarei’s Cameron Street Mall from 3:30pm on the Friday afternoon. That’s followed by a ceremonial start – including the welcoming of international guests, with the first car departing at 5pm.
The competitive stages begin on Saturday morning with the journey heading north of Whangarei to a loop of all new stages. Starting with Otakairangi at 15 kilometres in length it is followed by Pipiwai, 32km’s long, and Marlow at 20km’s. Teams then return to Whangarei and the event’s Quayside Town Basin central service park – where the public can watch the mechanics and crew engineers at work.
The afternoon’s competition includes a repeat of two of the morning stages (Otakairangi and Pipiwai) followed by another new test at Tapui that uses 20km’s of winding gravel road. The teams then return to Whangarei for a second service before tackling the Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage.
Activity starts at 3:30pm with the Mitre 10 Mega Whangarei TriKids Duathlon that includes a cycling and running course to challenge keen kids between ages 5 to 13 years. Entry of $15 contains a gear pack and entry for one adult to the venue – that includes the evening running of the Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage.
Lights go green for the first rally car at 7pm with the second car starting 30 seconds later. The action intensifies with each passing car – having started in reverse seeded order, meaning the events fastest cars will start last.
The second run begins 40 minutes later.
Departing Whangarei from 7:55am Sunday 13 April, teams head to classic New Zealand rally stages including Brooks, Millbrook and Springfield. A mid-morning service back at the Quayside Town Basin Service Park in Whangarei, followed by a repeat run of these three stages completes the 220.87 kilometres of competitive distance of the event.
Teams then return to Whangarei for the victory celebrations and podium presentation, being held from 3:00 pm at the Marina’s Edge of the Quayside Town basin area.
Spectating at the rally start, finish and Quayside Town Basin service areas are free with access to rural viewing points costing just $10 per adult per day and $15 for the Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage. Children under the age of 15 are free with a paying adult and paddock parking is available at some locations for a gold coin donation.
A share of all spectator ticket revenue goes to the local community groups that help run the spectator viewing areas.
A rally map can be collected from rally headquarters at Quayside Town Basin (from 9 April) or found in the rally insert published in the Northern Advocate on 9 April. It illustrates prime spectating areas with detailed timings.
Spectators are reminded to follow the instructions of marshals and ensure they stand well clear of the road’s edge – inside the taped off viewing areas.