The course for next year’s 40th anniversary Otago Rally is taking shape, with the 2016 event likely to include around 280 competitive kilometres over 16 special stages.
To be held on April 9 and 10, 2016, the all-daylight Otago Rally will be the first round of the New Zealand Rally Championship, while the event will also see the 20th running of the International Otago Classic Rally.
The special stages will offer competitors a wide range of mostly fast, public roads, with less than 20 per cent of the rally to be held in forests.
According to Otago Rally Clerk of Course, Norman Oakley, competitors will enjoy some new stages, as well as some old favourites.
“In 2016 we’ll return to North Otago for variants of stages last used in 2010, as well as including the classic sub-alpine Danseys Pass stage, over 29 kilometres,” Oakley said.
“Day one’s action will also include a short stage last used in the ‘Rally of the South’ in the mid-1980s, before finishing with the traditional tarmac stages around a Dunedin city block.”
On Sunday the event will head north west of Dunedin for fast public road stages near Middlemarch, using some familiar stages from previous years, as well as a new configuration of an old favourite.
“From there the rally will head down towards Waipori Gorge, taking in a very fast and wide (wide enough to get a bus sideways) public road stage last used in the very first classic rally in 1997,” Oakley added.
“The rally will then finish with the famous Kuri Bush stage – rated by Hayden Paddon as his favourite stage in the world.”
Other initiatives around the Otago Rally anniversaries will be announced soon, with organisers keen to include as many past winners and original participants from 1976 as they can.
For more information on the Otago Rally, visit the event website at www.otagorally.com