Moloney’s New Zealand Rally Championship title bid on hold after lockdowns cancel this weekend’s Rally Coromandel – new event in October

Noel Moloney will have to wait another few weeks before he will know if he can win the newcomers category in the New Zealand Rally Championship.

He and his driver Quentin Palmer are the clear leaders of the series.

However , this weekend’s Rally Coromandel has been cancelled due to new COVID-19 restrictions in the country.#

October’s Battery Town Rally Bay of Plenty has replaced Dayle ITM Goldrush Rally Coromandel as the final round of the 2021 Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship.

New Zealand’s leading rally drivers will tackle some iconic stages – like Manawahe – made famous by being part of Rally New Zealand events in yesteryear with the Whakatane-based event set to run on Sunday October 17.

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has made it impossible to stage the Dayle ITM Goldrush Rally Coromandel as planned next weekend and no suitable date could be found before the end of the season.

Organisers were left with no choice but to cancel and find a replacement rally.

Rally Bay of Plenty, which enjoyed a successful staging last year, makes a welcome albeit late inclusion to the national championship.

“The non-championship Rally Bay of Plenty was a quality event last year and was well-received by competitors and spectators,” NZRC championship coordinator Blair Bartels said.

“With COVID making Coromandel a no-go this year sadly we needed to find a suitable replacement, and Bay of Plenty was a logical choice.

“Geographically it isn’t too far away from Coromandel and the event date had been set as a non-championship rally, so it was pretty easy to add it into our championship.

“We are delighted to be heading back to some terrific rally roads and a wonderful part of the country and we thank Rally Bay of Plenty organisers for being so accommodating.

“It will be great to finish off our championship with the full five-round championship we always planned for.”

Rally Bay of Plenty will see competitors tackle 10 special stages over 130 km of high-speed gravel roads. Action begins on Saturday night with a ceremonial opening in downtown Whakatane.

New Zealand photos thanks to Geoff Ridder

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