Is tarmac in the NZRC’s future?

Josh Marston in action at Levels Raceway. Photo / Geoff Ridder

A tarmac or mixed surface rally seems like a logical step for the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship after the concept got competitor support in a recent poll.

A total of 61% of competitors have indicated they would like to see either a full tarmac rally or at least a mixed surface event on the national calendar.

Just 38% of respondents – all currently competing in 2019 – want the championship to remain an exclusively gravel series.

Championship coordinator Blair Bartels said there were no tarmac events currently being run that could become part of the championship but they will start to investigate the concept.

“It is getting more difficult to find suitable gravel roads in many places around the country and a tarmac event would work better in some regions,” Bartels said.

“We won’t be rushing into anything in regards to a tarmac rally but clearly the appetite for it is starting to grow.

“It is unlikely a tarmac or mixed surface event will appear on the 2020 calendar but I’m sure it is only a matter of time before one does appear.

“We just need to start preparing for how that might work and what regulations are used for it.”

Wairarapa and the Far North rallies were voted the most popular events that have appeared recently on the calendar or are being run outside the NZRC at present. Wairarapa received 30% of the vote while the Far North rally attracted 24% support. Other events to receive votes were Catlins (20%), Nelson (17%), Westland (7%) and Lawrence (2%).

The Queenstown/Wanaka region was identified as the area in which competitors would most like to see an event added to the championship with 21% of competitors preferring the tourist-destination as a potential venue.

Wairarapa (also 21%) and Nelson (17%) were the other two locations where competitors would like to see the championship expand to in the coming years.

Southland (12%), South Auckland/Maramarua (9%), Bay of Plenty (7%), Hawke’s Bay (4%), Gisborne (4%), Manawatu (4%) and Taranaki (2%) also attracted votes.

The 2020 NZRC calendar is expected to be confirmed before Rally Waitomo in October.

The 2019 New Zealand Rally Championship is proudly supported by Brian Green Property Group, Gull New Zealand, Dunlop New Zealand, HELLA New Zealand, Stadium Finance, Omega Rental Cars and Suzuki New Zealand.


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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 2019, there are six NZRC rounds, each with a unique character reflecting the diverse regions – from Northland to Otago.