Targa car rally returns to Wellington region for first time in seven years

The Targa New Zealand car rally will return to Wellington for the first time in seven years.

With local authority temporary road closures approval, three hill stages will be raced on the event's final day on Saturday, October 28.

The action will herald the first Targa racing in the capital since the 2010 rally finished in the central city in what was a fifth successive year of the event visiting the capital.

In order, three hill stages at Upper Hutt's Moonshine Valley, Paekakariki and Makara will provide the final afternoon action on a rally which will get under way in Auckland on October 24.

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The Wellington events also feature a controlled "rollout" of the rally vehicles for a public display at Taranaki Wharf on the Saturday evening.

Seven stages, and a total 142 kilometres, will be raced on the final day, which will begin in Palmerston North and travel and race in Wairarapa before the vehicles head over the Rimutaka hill.

Overall the 2017 Targa New Zealand competitors will race 641 kilometres, at an average 25km a stage. Another 1170km will covered in non-competition touring on the county's roads.

Organised by the Ultimate Rally Group, Targa New Zealand is a time-trial event in which competitors compile points over each race leg to arrive at a series champion.

Competing in a range of classes, the drivers and their navigators head off at 30-second or one-minute intervals, with the slowest out of the gates first for each stage.

Approval of the at Moonshine Hill was given by the Upper Hutt council and followed a change in the organiser's plans to hold a second local stage in the Akatarawa Valley.

The 12km racing will be from the hill road intersection with Kirton Dr to the city boundary on Moonshine Rd and will require a four-hour closure affecting a number of residents.

Advertising of the proposed closure attracted three submissions opposing approval and two in support..

The support included Andrew Hutson, chairman of the Moonshine Valley Residents Association, who spoke to the council. He reported the rally had received full backing at he group's recent annual meeting.

"The association has accepted an offer from the Ultimate Rally Group to assist with the event through the Moonshine Rd and we will be helping with the taping of gateways, and manning of the intersections as well as the start and finish.

"We have been associated with this event for many years and while aware of some objectors, the majority of the residents are in support of the event," Hutson said.

 - Stuff