New Zealand is returning to the World Rally Championship next year, ten years since it last appeared on the calendar.
Auckland will host Rally New Zealand’s 32nd event from September 29 to October 2.
The city was meant to hold the country’s first WRC round since 2012 in 2020. However, that was cancelled due to Covid-19 implications.
Rally organisers then mooted the idea of having a round sometime this year. But that too failed to eventuate due to the global pandemic.
In August, Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston told Velocity News his team were working hard behind the scenes to allure the WRC back to Aotearoa.
Now, those efforts have paid off.
“We are absolutely delighted to share this terrific news with rally fans and the wider community,” Johnston said.
“We got agonisingly close to having the WRC return last year before COVID interrupted. So, this feels so rewarding knowing we will get to run one of the country’s most iconic sporting events once again.”
Kiwi rally sensation Hayden Paddon has been made the event’s official ambassador.
“It is so satisfying knowing New Zealand will get to host a round of the WRC again, especially after the disappointment of missing out last year,” Paddon said.
“It has long been a dream of mine to compete against the world’s best here in my backyard.
“It is a great day for Kiwi rally fans, and I am so thrilled to have a role to play.”
Rally New Zealand is the 11th round on the 2022 WRC calendar.
The WRC will celebrate its 50th championship season next year as well.