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WRC status 'unlikely' for New Zealand in 2011

Rally New Zealand organisers have conceded that there are too many obstacles to hosting a world championship round next season.

The related matters of logistics and the Rugby World Cup look set to force Rally New Zealand off the 2011 FIA World Rally Championship calendar, but organisers are keen to stress that that doesn't mean that the event won't be back on the 2012 and future WRC calendars.

"Since it was announced that there was a risk Rally New Zealand was to be deleted permanently from the WRC calendar, we have been working to ensure that this was not the case," Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr explained, "We were allocated a date for 2011, but it was right in the period of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, so that was not feasible.

"The WRC calendar is heavily influenced by the logistics of moving all of the teams and equipment around the world, and a significant portion of the equipment is shipped by sea. The shipping schedules dictated an event in September or October 2011, [but] we had no desire to conflict with the RWC and had to decline those dates."

Carr has been in constant contact with WRC promoters North One Sport over recent weeks, and reveals that they then looked at dates on either side of the RWC but, again, struck issues such as access to key venues like Queens Wharf.

"New Zealand is still listed as a reserve event for 2011, but the logistics reduce the likelihood of that occurring," Carr admitted, "Of course, it's disappointing, but all is not lost and our efforts will now be applied to ensuring a workable date on the 2012 WRC calendar. Our event is highly-regarded, there's no doubt. It has considerable value to New Zealand in terms of international profile and we continue to talk with all parties as we work towards a suitable date in 2012."

"In the meantime, we celebrate the 40th running of Rally New Zealand in 2010 by making sure this year's event is run to the highest possible standard to ensure that we retain our place in 2012.

"As we said before, the best thing fans can do to show their support for Rally New Zealand and their desire to see the event back in New Zealand at the earliest possible opportunity is to get out and watch the 2010 event.

"Let's turn our attention to next week's Rally New Zealand and celebrate the wonderful heritage of rallying created by the many hundreds of competitors and thousands of volunteers and fans who have helped make this a truly world-class event over the past 40 years. Get out to the prime spectator points around the Whangarei, Kaipara, Franklin, North Waikato and Franklin districts, come down to SKYCITY Auckland on Sunday 2 May for the driver autograph signing session, enjoy the massive day of action at Hampton Downs on Saturday 8 May and come along to the ceremonial start and finish in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour."



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