While rally teams travelling from Europe to New Zealand for the fifth round in the 2010 World Rally Championship may have their pre-event preparations affected due to last weeks Icelandic volcanic eruption, that won't stop the event going ahead, Rally NZ organisers have promised today.
"It's an FIA World Rally Championship event," Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr explained. "Only the FIA can make the decision to postpone or cancel the event and we've heard nothing to indicate that either of those options is even being considered."
Carr and other officials are in regular communication with the WRC teams, which have just completed competing in Turkey.
"Virtually all the European teams are having difficulties getting home from Turkey - some are bussing, some have chartered private planes to take them on a route not affected by the ash," Carr added.
"Some teams are commenting that their pre-event preparation will be severely compressed before the freight aircraft depart Europe for New Zealand in about eight days time. We appreciate that teams will be under considerable pressure to be ready to fly out to New Zealand, but the reality is, unless we are advised to the contrary by the FIA, Rally New Zealand will take place as scheduled."
Carr's comments meanwhile have been backed up by Morrie Chandler, the New Zealander who chairs the World Rally Championship Commission.
"Based on the current situation, Rally New Zealand will run as scheduled. Everything's in place and Rally New Zealand officials have done everything they're meant to under FIA regulations," Chandler said.
"I understand some teams are looking at different, later freight options. If we get to the point of some teams not being able to make it to New Zealand, perhaps the situation will be revised, but at this point, that's unlikely."
"Today it is obvious more planes are flying and that the ash is working its way through," Carr continued.
"I'm confident that the teams will make it to New Zealand, despite their lengthy journeys home from Turkey. All of our efforts are going to ensure that when the teams do get here, they have the best event possible. We will be ready in Auckland, on May 6."