A contribution from the Government's Major Events Development Fund will play an important role in trying to help Rally New Zealand secure a position on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar for 2011 and beyond.

The funding - $250,000 - will go towards certain operational and promotional elements of the 40th running of Rally New Zealand in May this year

"We are grateful to Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee and others for their consideration of the situation where New Zealand's longest-running world championship event was at risk," Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr said. "With today's announcement, we extend our thanks to Mr Brownlee and Major Events Development Fund officials for their confirmation of the funding.

"We will apply these funds to making the 2010 event even stronger and more attractive to the world-wide audience of more than 50 million television viewers expected to watch Rally New Zealand when it takes place in Auckland."

Carr added that, while the funding will assist the organisation develop and enhance its case to stay on the FIA WRC calendar, there is still no guarantee that WRC promoters North One Sport will confirm Rally New Zealand as a round of the global series for 2011 and beyond.

"The funding will definitely help, but ultimately the decision is up to the WRC's commercial promoters North One Sport and the FIA," he said. "The best thing New Zealanders can do to help us secure Rally New Zealand as a round of the World Rally Championship in the future is get out and watch the event this year. Come along, be a spectator at one of the many free and paid spectator vantage points, and show the WRC promoters that we're passionate about this iconic event."