Major change to Otago Rally seeding order for 2019

The Otago Rally will go ‘back to the future’ next year with a seeding order not used since the early 2000s, and that will further enhance the excitement of the event.

van Klink 2015

Rally organisers have been wanting to find a way to manage the three different rallies (NZRC, Classic and Classic 4WD) in a way that keeps the field tight, while giving respect to all classes and providing the best spectator experience.

The result will see the new Classic 4WD cars lead the field away for the April 13-14 event, followed by the 2WD Classics in reverse order – building from the slowest classics to the fastest.

Then, after a small gap, the New Zealand Rally Championship and Allcomers competitors will follow, seeded together on merit.
 
This will keep the field tightly together, and for spectators means they can arrive early and have great entertainment that keeps getting better, as the big names in the Classics and NZRC are literally head-to-head.

“We’ve been looking at the opportunity to make this change for a while now, and have the support of the NZRC championship organisers,” Otago Rally spokesman, Roger Oakley, said. 

“It is going to make a significant improvement to spectator appeal.  We want the rally to be the best possible experience for everyone. 

“As always, the competitors and spectators are at the centre of our thinking as we have a wonderful rally community.”

McRae 2015The Otago Classic Rally cars will run in reverse seeding order in 2019. Photos: Peter Whitten

The reverse seeding of the Classics was previously trialled many years ago, but there was always concern about how an issue in the Classics might create a significant effect on the following national championship field. 

However, with the introduction of the RallySafe monitoring system in recent years, the control over the whole field is much clearer, and this risk can be managed.  

The change will also make the TV and livestreams easier to manage, with top Classics and the NZRC field closer together.

“We’re investigating the best way to ensure media coverage for the whole field, but this configuration of the field only helps,” Oakley added.

“As always, the competitors and spectators are at the centre of our thinking when we’re discussing improving the Otago Rally experience each year.”

The 2019 Otago Rally receives Major Events funding from Dunedin City Council, and is supported by the Otago Community Trust.