1: Ken Block returns
The Gymkhana internet sensation has been absent from the WRC since Rally Guanajuato Mexico in early March. But he’s back for Brother Rally New Zealand and ready to put on a show for his legion of fans in his Monster World Rally Team Ford Fiesta RS WRC.
2: Close finish expected
New Zealand has a habit of staging close finishes: Marcus Gronholm sensationally beat Sebastien Loeb to victory by 0.3s in 2007. Loeb’s current Citroen team-mate, Mikko Hirvonen says he can see no reason why this year’s rally won’t be just as close.
3: McRae name is back in the WRC
Alister McRae, the younger brother of rallying legend Colin, will be chasing Super 2000 world championship honours in his PROTON Satria-Neo. The Scot has previous experience of competing in New Zealand and come close to winning the Group N category back in 2007.
4: Home hero set to shine
While overall honours will elude Hayden Paddon in his Super 2000-specification Skoda Fabia, the Kiwi hero will be a favourite to win the SWRC and could even get amongst the top-10 battlers in his Skoda Fabia.
5: Spectacular stages will thrill
Rally New Zealand’s rollercoaster gravel roads are famous throughout the world. Perhaps the most famous stage of them all is Whaanga Coast, which will be used twice on Friday. Overlooking the Tasman coastline, the stage provides spectacular views, not to mention a strong likelihood of drama if 2010 is anything to go by. That’s when the rally was decided on the final run through the stage as Sebastien Ogier and Petter Solberg both hit trouble when on course to win the event outright, handing Jari-Matti Latvala a last-gasp win.