Hawkeswood: Control tyre deal is just what the sport needs

Former national champion and rally legend Andrew Hawkeswood has given his support of a control tyre being introduced into the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.

Championship organisers confirmed on Thursday they have inked a three-year deal with MRF Tyres as the official tyre supplier of categories 1-4 in the national championship beginning next year.

Hawkeswood, who won the 2017 national championship, was the brains trust behind the AP4 platform and is the owner and architect of the Jacks Ridge Super Special stage used in last year’s WRC Rally New Zealand, thinks the move will be a huge boost to the sport.

“Control tyres are something we see in most motorsport categories around the world, but I think this particular deal will be hugely beneficial to everyone in the sport,” Hawkeswood said.

“The financial support to run the championship will mean entry fees remain at affordable rates while inflation impacts the world around us. The capped price of tyres means competitors are protected and can accurately plan costs for the duration of this deal. The on-event support will be a huge improvement and will help all competitors while the ability to recycle used tyres is a really good thing in this age that we now live in.

“But the biggest upside to this deal for me, is the fact that we create a genuine level playing field for all of our competitors. With everyone on the same tyre, we remove the thought of the haves and have nots, it removes the luck of being able to get your hands on tyres that are in-demand, and it means that drivers and cars will determine results, which is what we all want.

“I honestly can’t see a downside to this deal.”

The MRF Tyre deal takes effect for the 2024 season and runs until the end of the 2026 championship.


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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