The Trusthouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa will see a top class field of 70 cars take to the gravel roads around Pongaroa and Masterton on June 28.
Being a round of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, driven by VTNZ, the Total Lubricants Rally Xtreme Challenge and the Geartech Central Region Rally Series, the event has attracted the best rally drivers in the country.
Not only that, but the sheer variety of machinery has also impressed the organisers. 14 different makes are represented in the field.
From Porsche and BMW to Skodia and Audi, along with the more usual suspects like Mitsubishi, Subaru and Ford.
The recent confirmation of Andrew Hawkeswood’s entry adds yet another dimension to the ranks of the new hybrid specials.
Not that these cars are electric powered, more the art of taking a basic road car and turning it into a gravel spitting monster.
In the case of Hawkeswood it was taking a Mazda 2 shopping basket and fitting a 2.3-litre turbo charged engine from a Mazda 3 MPS, bolted to a 6 speed gearbox, that feeds into 4 wheel drive.
With the New Zealand Championship, Rally Xtreme and Central Region series all contesting the one event for the first time this year, it will be the first opportunity for many of the top drivers to go head to head.
It will certainly be the first opportunity for Hawkeswood in his Mazda 2 and Emma Gilmour in her Suzuki Swift Maxi to take on Patrick Malley in his Mitsubishi powered Peugeot 208 and Alex Kelsey’s Peugeot bodied MC2 (Mad Creation 2).
In fact a number of competitors have taken the opportunity to go for a double or even triple points score.
If they have registered for more than one series or championship then Rally Wairarapa as the prime opportunity for them to gain a massive points haul in one hit.
With 163km of car friendly gravel roads, the emphasis will certainly be on driver ability and speed. Making for an exciting spectacle as the drivers make the most of this opportunity.
Also included in the Rally Wairarapa entry list are the veterans of rallying, as they contest the Malcolm Stewart Classic Rally.
Seeded throughout the field, these classic cars keep the fine history of rally sport alive, using the cars as they were built to be used.
Heading the classic field will be Deane Buist and Marcus van Klink, in two very iconic cars, a Ford Escort RS1800 and a Group B Mazda RX7 respectively.
Further down the field sees a dose of the variety mentioned above. Mazda RX3, Porsche 911, Fiat 131 Abarth, Datsun and Skoda are all represented.
The result being that there will be something for everyone at Rally Wairarapa this year. From the fast and the furious, to the nostalgic, to the local club competitors who have travelled from far and wide to test their mettle on the Tararua and Wairarapa gravel.
Talking of iconic, the rally will start from the Tui HQ at Mangatainoka, from 7am, before heading to the high speed special stages around Pongaroa, Castle Hill, and Masterton. Arriving to the finish at the Copthorne Solway Park Resort and Hotel from 5pm, having travelled on 163km of competition gravel, over 9 special stages.
Rally maps, detailed timings and all the info spectators need are now available at www.rallywairarapa.co.nz