Rally NZ’s High Octane on Hampton event – on this Sunday

Rally NZ’s High Octane on Hampton event – on this Sunday

This coming weekend is going to be huge for Kiwi rally fans because Rally New Zealand is about to tear up our gravel roads once again. It gets better too because there is an action-packed High Octane on Hampton ‘side show’ on this Sunday 8th May.

It’s a seriously big day of motorsport action at the Hampton Downs Motorsport Park with top-class rally action alongside the first-ever running of a Ken Block-style Gymkhana X competition, a Gran Turismo 5 virtual racing challenge with awesome prizes and way more.

Gran Turismo 5 Virtual Challenge

“There’s a great pool of prizes up for grabs for the Gran Turismo 5 virtual challenge finalists,” says Rally New Zealand chairman Peter (‘PJ’) Johnston.

“Anyone can register to compete in the Gran Turismo 5 virtual challenge, which is made possible with the support of Sony PlayStation and VisionRacer. Simply come to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park for 9am on Sunday 8 May, pay the entry fee to the circuit and look for the Sony signage to find the GT5 competition arena inside the pavilion,” says Johnston.

For the first round of the GT5 competition, all entrants will ‘drive’ the HKS Racing Performer CT230R on Vision Racer simulation units and attempt to do the fastest lap on the Tsukuba Circuit. A scoreboard of times will be kept throughout the day, with the entrant with the fastest lap time receiving $500 cash and a special GT5 prize pack from Sony.

Then, the top eight competitors race off in a final time-trial session ‘driving’ Sébastien Loeb’s 2010 Citroën WRC car on a Gran Turismo gravel rally stage until the grand winner is found. All eight finalists receive a GT5 prize pack and a $50 Gull petrol voucher, while the winner gets to take home their own Sony PlayStation3 console, $500 cash, $100 Gull fuel voucher and more from Red Bull and Sony.

Johnston adds: “True GT5 fans will appreciate the opportunity to see one of the coolest cars in the Gran Turismo game – the HKS Racing Performer CT230R, a 417kW (560hp), 950kg weapon built by leading Japanese aftermarket performance parts manufacturer HKS around a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII and the fastest-ever car to contest the famous Japanese Tsukuba run. It’s going to be an absolutely amazing day at Hampton Downs and being able to see the now-retired CT230R actually there, at the track, is the icing on the cake. We thank Darryl Young of Redline Performance (HKS New Zealand) for his help in securing this very special car for our display.”

The GT5 experience is made all the more exciting when using the VisionRacer. Sold in over 40 countries, the simulator is the brainchild of a New Zealand design team.

Gymkhana X

Inspired by WRC star Ken Block’s gymkhana videos on YouTube, the High Octane on Hampton Gymkhana X competition pits rally vs. drifting in a unique timed challenge.

Using Hampton Downs’ state-of-the-art skid pan, Gymkhana X combines high speed drift elements as well as a tight and technical infield course to really test competitors’ car control skill. Competitors race against the clock and receive a score from judges to determine the ultimate winner.

Johnston says: “The New Zealand debut of this kind of motorsport sees some of New Zealand’s hottest rally drivers in their equally-tuned cars up against the most talented drifters the country has to offer.”

Upfront on the rally team is the ever-spectacular Andrew Hawkeswood. A former frontrunner in the New Zealand Rally Championship, Hawkeswood brings out his awesome, locally-built Group B Audi Quattro S1 replica. Also representing rallying is the monstrous V8-powered Mitsubishi Cordia of Steve Murphy, a car that sums up the Kiwi DIY attitude. Using this car, Murphy is one of a select bunch to win the infamous Ashley Forest Rallysprint three times. The rally team also features the historically-correct Ford Escort of Greg Goudie and the similar but far more modified Escort of Clark Proctor. Rounding out the rally field is emerging talent Adam Bligh in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 6.

On the drift side, ‘Mad Mike’ Whiddett leads the charge. Whiddett, who has been described as the Possum Bourne of the New Zealand drifting scene, is a former D1NZ champion and has huge experience competing internationally with Red Bull and other sponsors. Also representing the drifters is former rally, off-road and circuit driver Daynom Templeman. Like Whiddett, Templeman runs a rotary-powered Mazda RX7. They will be joined by the Nissan Silvia of Carl Ruiterman, another former D1NZ champion, amongst other drift competitors.

Rally New Zealand’s High Octane on Hampton event also includes drift demonstrations from the stars of D1NZ, a time attack competition around Hampton Downs’ sweeping circuit, a deluxe bikini model challenge, a 100-car park-up, and circuit racing from classic and modern muscle cars, sports and GTs, and a specially-invited field of Formula 5000s and Atlantics.

While all the action takes place at Hampton Downs, the rally competitors tackle the mighty Whaanga Coast stage and five more before returning to the circuit for their final super special stage around 4pm, followed by a prize-giving ceremony. Rally New Zealand 2011 is round two of the Brian Green Property Group New Zealand Rally Championship, in association with Neil Allport Motorsports. The rally side of event also features the Possum Bourne Memorial Rally and the new Rally New Zealand Historic Rally.

Access to rural rally stages is via gold coin donation to support the community groups which help with on-event parking and safety marshalling, while the adult ticket prices at Hampton Downs are $10 on Saturday and $25 on Sunday and include viewing for the rally’s super special stages run on the circuit.

Fans can find the official rally map in the Spectator section of the event’s website, www.rallynz.org.nz, and also keep up with the latest news via Rally New Zealand’s Facebook page.

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