4 Jun 2011

Rally New Zealand 2012 dates set

4:19 pm on 4 June 2011

Rally New Zealand has been confirmed as a round of the World Rally Championship in late June in 2012 - but the future of the event beyond next year remains up in the air.

The World Motor Sport Council has confirmed the dates for Rally New Zealand as a mid-season event in the 13-round 2012 World Rally Championship, running from Thursday the 21st to Sunday the 24th of June.

But Rally New Zealand chairman Peter Johnston says there's a lot of countries with deep pockets prepared to fork out big money to have the WRC on their patch, and the current bi-annual race here alternating with Australia remains at the mercy of sponsorship.

Johnston says New Zealand's a poor country relative to the likes of Abu Dhabi though we have amazing rally roads.

And motorsport's governing body, the FIA (International Automobile Federation), has confirmed that next year's Australian Grand Prix will be staged at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit from March 15th to the 18th.

The Australian event will be the second race on the 2012 Formula One calendar following Bahrain on March 11th.