Tidemand breaks sub-minute barrier at International Rally of Whangarei shakedown

Friday 17th April, 2015 - 12:11pm

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Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Emil Axelsson set fastest time at today’s shakedown, ahead of this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei - the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. pic: Geoff Ridder

Sweden’s Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Emil Axelsson set fastest time at today’s shakedown, ahead of this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei – the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship. pic: Geoff Ridder

Driving a Skoda Fabia S2000 specification car, former Swedish Rally Champion Pontus Tidemand has set a fastest time of 58.8 sec at today’s shakedown ahead of this weekend’s International Rally of Whangarei.

The test precedes the three-day competition that covers 282.2km of Whangarei and Northland rural roads.

Starting and finishing from host city Whangarei it is the opening round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and New Zealand Rally Championship (NZRC).

MRF Tyres team-mate and last year’s rally winner Gaurav Gill (India) was second fastest with a 59.4 sec run. Kiwi Andrew Hawkeswood (Auckland) was third – while American Ken Block was fourth fastest with a time of 1m00.5sec.

The mild and dry conditions favoured faster times – the 1.25km loop road located at Whangarei’s William Fraser Memorial Park (Pohe Island) progressively swept cleaner with each passing car.

“Yes we are very happy to be fastest although it will be tomorrow that matters,” commented Tidemand.

A total of 18 of the 49 entered in this weekend’s multi-category event participated this morning.

Teams now turn their attention to the official start. The cars will be on display at Te Matau ā Pohe (the bridge adjacent to Pohe Island) for pre-start activities and the driver signing session – from 4:45pm.

That is followed at 6pm with a ceremonial start before the first of two competitive Hella Super Special tests, from 7pm.

The cars are then put in to a secure overnight park ahead of the competition proper.

Departing Whangarei’s Quayside town basin from 6:55am tomorrow morning the crews head north to contest a further eight special stages

Sunday’s additional six stages use three groups of road south of Whangarei. Each test varies from past editions of the event – creating an entire new set of road records.

The cars and crew then return to the Whangarei Quayside town basin for the 3pm ceremonial finish.

Along with the celebratory national anthem of the winning team, the top-three finishers are further recognised by their nation’s flag being shown adjacent to the winners’ dais.

Spectating at the rally start, finish and Quayside town basin service areas are free with access to rural viewing points costing just $10 per adult per day and $15 for the spectacular Hella Pohe Island Super Special Stage on Friday evening 17th April.

Children under the age of 15 are free with a paying adult and paddock parking is available at some locations for a gold coin donation.

A share of all spectator ticket revenue goes to the local community groups that help run the spectator viewing areas.

A rally map is available free to download from the spectator info section of the website, or it can be collected from rally headquarters at Quayside town basin (from 15th April).

It illustrates prime spectating areas with detailed timings. Spectators are reminded to follow the instructions of marshals and ensure they stand well clear of the road’s edge – and be inside the taped off viewing areas.

International Rally of Whangarei 2015 – event itinerary

Section 1a – Friday 17 April 2015
Stage, name, distance, start time
SS1 Pohe Island 1.25km 19:00
SS2 Pohe Island 1.25km 20:00 (Approx)

Section 1b – Saturday 18 April 2015
Stage, name, distance, start time
Start – Quayside Town Basin 06:55
SS3 Maromaku 1 16.86km 07:58
SS4 Towai 1 27.28km 08:26
SS5 Tapuhi 1 17.22km 09:49
SS6 Helena 1 14.82km 10:42
SS7 Maromaku 2 16.86km 13:23
SS8 Towai 2 27.28km 13:51
SS9 Tapuhi 2 17.22km 15:14
SS10 Helena 2 14.82km 16:07

Section 2 – Sunday 19 April 2015
Stage, name, distance, start time
Start – Quayside Town Basin 07:25
SS11 Springfield 1 28.51km 08:13
SS12 Waiotira 1 16.56km 08:56
SS13 Otuhi 1 18.15km 09:34
SS14 Springfield 2 28.51km 12:03
SS15 Waiotira 2 16.56km 12:46
SS16 Otuhi 2 18.15km 13:24
Ceremonial Finish, Quayside Town Basin, Whangarei City 15:00

2015 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship calendar

Round 1: 17 – 19 April New Zealand (Counts toward: APRC, Pacific Cup, Junior Cup)
Round 2: 15- 17 May New Caledonia (Counts toward: APRC, Pacific Cup)
Round 3: 19 – 21 June Australia (Counts toward: APRC, Pacific Cup, Junior Cup)
Round 4: 14 – 16 August Malaysia (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup, Junior Cup)
Round 5: 18 – 20 September Japan (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup, Junior Cup)
Round 6: 30 Oct – 01 November China (Counts toward: APRC, Asia Cup)
Round 7: 11 – 13 December India (Counts toward: Asia Cup)

2015 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship calendar
Round 1: International Rally of Whangarei 17-19 April,

Round 2: DriveSouth Rally of Otago 9-10 May,

Round 3: Autosport Canterbury Rally 30-31 May,

Round 4: Gisborne Rally 27 June,

Round 5: Mahindra Gold Rush Rally of Coromandel 22 August,

Round 6: Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa 3 October.