Freight handlers pull together to keep Brother Rally New Zealand on track

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

The seventh round of the World Rally Championship (WRC), Brother Rally New Zealand is regarded as a long-haul event that requires the teams having to freight a largely duplicate set of parts and equipment to that used in the European rounds.

Mostly inbound from Argentina – the series’ first long-haul event on the 2012 calendar, much of the gear shipped has been ready declared by one of New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI, previously MAF) officers, who flew there.

“Because New Zealand is an island our border standards are much higher than most countries with land borders. MPI have been very helpful in ensuring that cars are inspected promptly, and cleared efficiently,” said sporting manager Willard Martin.

“Due to the nature of the event – where it is largely held in rural areas, particular attention is paid to cleanliness of everything entering our country. The teams are all used to this and do a meticulous job at complying with our demands.

“Plus a cleaner car goes much faster!”

The event will be a return for eight-time World Rally Champion Sébastien Loeb (France) and rivals Jari-Matti Latvala (Finland), Mikko Hirvonen (Finland), along with another 11 teams contesting the WRC category.

Many of the international teams arriving to New Zealand have sent shipping containers that house most of their rally, reconnaissance and service vehicles along with parts, tools and equipment to set up a fully self-contained workshop on the wharf area surrounding the Viaduct Events Centre.

“This year more than 60 containers of parts have been shipped to New Zealand for this one event.

“Ports of Auckland have also been very helpful, ensuring that team containers are sorted and stacked ready for delivery to the service park. The Port has had a long involvement with the rally, essentially as the bulk of the parts and support systems are shipped to New Zealand by container.

“In 1991 the Ports of Auckland came to the rescue of the teams and the event in a significant way. A number of the cars entered for the rally were stuck on a vessel which had broken down in Auckland Harbour. The shipping company and the Ports of Auckland arranged for the vessel to be towed to a berth (despite the original tug breaking down), the cars discharged, and the vessel returned to anchor while repairs were carried out.

The last time the event ran here in June was 1991.

“Both MPI and Ports of Auckland have important jobs to do for Auckland and for the nation. It is great that they can find time in their busy work week to assist an event bringing the world to New Zealand, and with television taking New Zealand to the world. This year is much smoother with the containers at the port waiting for transfer. It is great to know that we would have the support of critical services if it was really needed.”

Construction of the team’s service park will begin during this coming weekend allowing the team’s the early part of the week to complete final preparations before the cars are first used on Thursday morning. Following shakedown and qualifying they will be cleaned for a parade down Queen Street at 4.30pm Thursday 21 June. That will be followed by a ticketed welcome function to officially open the event where the WRC drivers will select their starting positions based on their qualifying stage times.

A new MotorExpo and FanZone will operate inside rally headquarters at the Viaduct Events Centre throughout Friday 22 June to Sunday 24 June. Entry is free and alongside great vehicle displays and interactive entertainment, fans can watch the only big screen television showing live rally footage from out on the course.

Numerous prime and other spectator viewing areas offer excellent opportunities to watch the high speed action in person across all three days of the event.

Sunday’s action includes the free-for-everyone Auckland Domain super special stage before the ceremonial finish at 3:30pm near the Viaduct Events Centre on Auckland’s waterfront.

Detailed spectator and ticket information and current news is available on the event website