Organisers of cancelled Rally NZ out to lure WRC back with revamped Auckland event

New Zealand’s 2020 World Rally Championship leg may have been cancelled, but organisers aren’t sitting around feeling sorry for themselves.

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They’re doing everything they can to counter this year’s Covid-19 cancellation. Source: 1 NEWS

Instead, Rally New Zealand is lobbying hard to ensure WRC returns to Auckland in 2021, in what is a hugely uncertain time for many sports events globally.

It has announced a new event for 2020, with the City of Auckland Rally and Battle of Jack’s Ridge set to go ahead in November.

The event will include stages in the Kaipara Hills, Puhoi, and Riverhead Forest before the finale at Jack’s Ridge in Whitford.

The announcement is effectively a pitch to the WRC that Auckland is ready and able to host in 2021 after the New Zealand leg in this year's calendar was cancelled due to Covid-19.

“We’ve done all the hard work, we created this new event centre here for rally,” Rally NZ chair Peter Johnson told 1 NEWS.

“[The event] shakes down all our facilities, it shakes down our volunteer base that run it.

“We're going to push hard, we're going to be proactive. We can make this [WRC] event happen again," he said.

Veteran rally driver Andrew Hawkeswood, who created the Whitford-based track, says it’s an ideal venue for WRC to consider.

"You've got a purpose built facility within 10-20 kilometres of the CBD of Auckland, it's almost impossible to pull that off. So I think that's a big drawcard for WRC."

The event takes place on November 14 and 15.