Daybreaker Rally Manawatu 22-23 September 2023

Intention to Enter Form

Originally held in 1983, the Daybreaker Rally, over time, became one of New Zealand’s most iconic gravel-based competition rally events, and regularly ran as a round of the National Rally Championship.

Although the event has at times not run over the past 40 years, with its most recent edition being in 2015 (based in Wairarapa), Manawatu’s Daybreaker Rally boasts some of New Zealand’s most recognisable motorsport names as winners, including the late Possum Bourne and past New Zealand Rally Championships Neil Allport, Joe McAndrew, Dean Sumner, Ben Hunt and Manawatu’s own Geof Argyle and Bruce Herbert.

The 2023 New Zealand Rally Championship was initially confirmed as a six-round series, however with the national disasters that Hawkes Bay and Coromandel experienced earlier in the year, sadly the two championship rounds that were planned for these regions have been cancelled.

A conglomerate of Car Clubs in the lower North Island led by two passionate and experienced members of the rally community have come together to bring back the iconic event as a replacement of the two cancelled rounds. The 2023 Daybreaker Rally will be Round 4 of the New Zealand Rally Championship and will also be the penultimate round of what is now a five-round series.

Headlining the return of the 2023 Daybreaker Rally will be New Zealand’s best and most current rally stars, including WRC Round Winner and 5x New Zealand Rally Champion Hayden Paddon, 3x Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen, 2015 & 2019 New Zealand Rally Champion Ben Hunt and NEOM McLaren XE factory driver Emma Gilmour.

We anticipate that along with Paddon, van Gisbergen, Hunt and Gilmour, the event will attract up to 40 NZRC entries and up to 35 additional clubman competitors.

When is Daybreaker Rally?

The 2023 Daybreaker Rally will be held on Friday 22 September and Saturday 23 September 2023.

The feature event of Friday will be the Ceremonial Start held in Feilding town centre.

On Saturday, the rally teams will depart Feilding just prior to daybreak and head north to compete on eight gravel Special Stages in the lower Rangitikei and Manawatu districts (details to be announced soon).

The day will conclude with a publicity Super Special Stage in Feilding followed by the Official Finish Podium.

For up-to-date information follow



The New Zealand Rally Championship is this country’s premier nationwide rally championship. It attracts New Zealand’s best drivers to compete in numerous categories for the prestigious MotorSport New Zealand-sanctioned rally championship titles. In 2024, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Invercargill