Toyota New Zealand’s TR86, the motorsport version of the new 86 coupe will make its first appearance on gravel at the International Rally of Whangarei 18-19 May.
The TR86 will serve as the course clearing ‘double zero’ car for the two day event to be run over roads through the Whangarei and Kaipara Districts. The opening round of the 2013 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship will host competitors from Finland, India, France, Japan and New Zealand, covering 288.16km of competitive distance broken into 16 special stages.
Toyotas TR86 is the prototype for a new one make race series which will start towards the end of this year. Well suited to many forms of motorsport it is being fettled for the rigours of rally by former New Zealand rally champion Neil Allport who played a pivotal role in the preparation of the circuit car version.
Toyota’s latest model sports coupe harks back to the days of the rear drive AE86, and this latest car has rekindled interest in rear wheel drive cars in competition. Powered by a 2.0L boxer four cylinder engine producing 147kw, for this rally application it will be fitted with 15 inch competition wheels and rally tyres, under-body protection and stone chip deflecting mudflaps.
“Having Toyota’s TR86 join the event is a real bonus for us,” says Laurie Brenssell, chairman of the organising committee. “Along with the TRD prepared and sponsored Vitz (known as the Yaris in New Zealand) being driven by Kiwi driver Mike Young, the latest model 86 adds excitement to the event and rally and Toyota fans will be eager to see how it performs. “We know there a number of people interested in the car for rally, so seeing the car perform on gravel roads at this event will no doubt sway them to take the plunge and buy one.”
The rally itself gets underway on Friday 17 May with a pre-event autograph session in the Cameron St Mall from 3:30pm. The ceremonial start begins at 4:30pm with all the competing crews and cars taking part before being parked for the night ahead of Saturday’s action.
The cars leave Whangarei from 8am on Saturday, the route taking competitors over roads around Parahi in the south-west, Waipu Caves and Brooks – including the ‘Hella’ jump on Swamp Rd. They return to Whangarei for the brand new 1.25km Pohe Island super special stage before a 20minute service break at the Town Basin. The route is repeated in the afternoon with the cars then parked overnight following the service break. At 6:55am on Sunday the cars head south through Waipu Gorge and on to Marohemo and Batley road, visiting Paparoa and Cassidy Road before returning to Whangarei for a 20 minute service break. The teams repeat the stages in the early afternoon, returning to the Quayside Town Basin for a ceremonial finish from 3:15pm.
Spectators may watch the start, finish and Quayside Town Basin service areas free of charge. Access to rural viewing points, including the Pohe Island ‘Super Special’ stage will cost just $10 per adult. Children under the age of 15 are free with a paying adult and rural paddock parking is available for a gold coin donation. A share of all spectator ticket revenue goes to the local community groups that help run the spectator viewing areas.
A rally map, with clearly marked spectator viewing points, is available free to download from the event website www.rallywhangarei.co.nz, or it can be collected from rally headquarters at Quayside Town Basin (from 16 May) or found in the rally insert published in the Northern Advocate on 15 May.