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Auckland Domain is set to be in the headlights next month when Auckland hosts Rally New Zealand, the local round of the FIA World Rally Championship, from 6 to 9 May.
For the first time since 1990, a super special stage will be run in the Auckland Domain. The 1.5km route will take competitors around a selection of the Domain’s sealed roads in the dark of an early May evening.
Rally New Zealand chairman Chris Carr says the inclusion of the Auckland Domain in the official route of Rally New Zealand stems from a desire to ensure at least one competitive rally stage was run in close proximity to central Auckland and its legions of rally fans.
“The Domain stage layout has been designed to provide excellent spectator viewing within the natural contours of the picturesque Domain. Feedback from the WRC teams is that they are excited to be competing in the heart of Auckland city and helping to bring the rally to the people,” he says.
Mayor of Auckland city, Hon John Banks, says the Domain is a particularly special venue in which to run a super special stage during the 40th anniversary of Rally New Zealand.
“Auckland City Council and Rally New Zealand have worked together to raise the bar with this event to ensure it is world-class for spectators, as well competitors and their teams. This has included facilitating the Auckland Domain Super Special Stage, which is going to be a great spectacle in an historic environment that we will be taking every possible step to protect throughout the event.”
The same Domain route is also being used for the ‘shakedown’ on Thursday 6 May, when competitors get their one and only official test session before the rally commences on Friday morning.
Tourism Auckland chief executive, Graeme Osborne, is delighted that one of Auckland’s prime visitor destinations will be showcased during the super special stage of the rally.
“Auckland Domain and its War Memorial Museum have great significance for the region. It’s excellent news that such a popular visitor destination will take pole position in this high profile sporting event,” he says.
Queens Wharf is another key Auckland venue during this year’s Rally New Zealand, providing the base for all rally teams to set up their main service area for the entire event. The public have a fantastic opportunity to see the WRC service crews in action at the service park and get up close to the drivers during autograph signing sessions. There will also be a free live TV broadcast of the rally stages on the big screen at Queens Wharf throughout the event. A free bus will be running from the Queens Wharf Service park to the Auckland Domain and back for the Super Special Stage on Friday, 7 May. The council is also offering specially-priced parking in the Downtown car park from 4.30pm that day. People can park for only $5 at the Downtown car park, and catch the free bus from outside the Ferry Terminal building to the Domain event and back. Vouchers will be available on the bus and must presented to the cashier when paying to redeem the discount.
For more information about Rally New Zealand 2010, visit www.rallynz.org.nz or www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/events
Rally New Zealand 2010 - Highlights
Thursday 6 May
Shakedown at Auckland Domain, 9.30am-1pm
Driver autograph signing sessions, 4pm-6pm
Ceremonial Start, Viaduct Harbour, 6pm-7.30pm
Friday 7 May
Special Stages 1 to 8, Whangarei and Kaipara districts, from 9.00am
Auckland Domain super special stage (Special Stage 9), 6.45pm
Service Park Queens Wharf – meet the crews, approx 7.20pm
Saturday 8 May
Special Stages 10 to 17, Franklin and North Waikato district, from 7.45am
Hampton Downs Super Special Stage, 11.45am and 4pm
Service Park, Queens Wharf – meet the crews, approx 5.20pm
Sunday 9 May
Special Stages 18 to 21, Raglan district, from 8.30am
Service Park, Queens Wharf – meet the crews, 2.15pm
Ceremonial Finish, Viaduct Harbour, 3pm