Power stage and prizes raise stakes for New Zealand Rally Championship contenders

The ‘power stage’ is a new feature for the five-round 2012 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, powered by Brother. Competitors have the chance to score bonus points toward whichever championship category they are contesting as well as earn themselves some great prizes courtesy of Genuine Vehicle Imports and Gull Petroleum.

Being used for the first time at Brother International Rally of Whangarei, the NZRC power stage draws on a similar concept which has been used in the FIA World Rally Championship since the beginning of the 2011 season. In the WRC, the power stage is the final special stage of each event and offers valuable bonus championship points for the three fastest drivers.

In New Zealand, the power stage for each of the five rounds will be nominated by each event organiser with the intention of offering the most exciting viewing for the post-event highlights television package produced by the contracted provider, Volt TV.

For the opening event of this year’s NZRC in Whangarei, the final stage of the rally, the 21.19-kilometre ‘Waipu Caves’, has been specified as the power stage.

The bonus point system sees the fastest three crews in each category through the power stage awarded points on a three-two-one basis to add to their overall round total. The five NZRC categories are Group N four-wheel-drive (4WD), Group N two-wheel-drive (2WD), open 4WD, open 2WD and historic.

“Already our five championship rallies deliver competitors the exciting challenge of finishing in the fastest time against their category competitors and for overall positions across a range of fantastic roads around New Zealand,” says co-championship coordinator Paul Burborough. “This new power stage initiative ups the ante for competitors to strive even harder for the bonus points. Not only do competitors have to balance outright speed with making sure they get to the finish on both days of each NZRC event – or all three days, in the case of Brother Rally New Zealand in June – in order to secure championship points, they also have the opportunity to secure valuable points by being one of the three quickest in their class through the power stage.”

Burborough and fellow directors from Rally of New Zealand Ltd, which organises and promotes the NZRC, have organised significant prizes for power stage winners in each category.

Burborough says: “Our chairman Peter (‘PJ’) Johnston is putting up $500 for the fastest driver through the power stage at all five events, whichever category they’re competing in. Gull Petroleum has also kindly donated fuel vouchers to contribute to the prize pool.”

Alongside the power stage prizes, the new Ralliart Mitsubishi representative in New Zealand, Shannon Chambers has promised a $1,000 voucher for Ralliart parts for the driver of any Mitsubishi who wins an NZRC round.

Following the opening round in Whangarei, the championship moves to the lower North Island for the Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa from 28 to 29 April. The competition then heads south for the only South Island event this season, Drivesouth Rally Otago from 25 to 27 May. The second international event is Brother Rally New Zealand, again a round of the FIA World Rally Championship this year and taking place from 21 to 24 June. This year’s NZRC wraps up with a new two-day event on the North Island’s east coast with Rally Gisborne running from 25 to 26 August.

News and information about the championship can be found on the website www.nzrallychampionship.co.nz.

Calendar for the 2012 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship powered by Brother:
Round 1 – 30 March to 1 April – Brother International Rally of Whangarei (NZRC / APRC)
Round 2 – 27 to 29 April – Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa (NZRC)
Round 3 – 25 to 27 May – DriveSouth Rally Otago (NZRC)
Round 4 – 21 to 24 June – Brother Rally New Zealand (NZRC/WRC and Possum Bourne Memorial Rally)
Round 5 – 25 to 26 August – Rally Gisborne (NZRC)