The two leading teams contesting the World Rally Championship, Peugeot and Lancia, entered five cars between them in the New Zealand Rally, and when the event finished at Auckland on July 8 those five cars occupied the first five places. Outright winners were championship leaders Juha Kankkunen and Juha Piironen in a Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, just one minute and forty seconds ahead of Markku Alen and Ilkka Kivimaki in a Lancia Delta S4.
This was Kankkunen’s third win of the year, the young Finn having achieved a remarkable start to his rallying career and gaining a reputation for winning rallies at his first attempt His lead over Alen in the World Championship is now substantial, whilst among the makes Peugeot is gradually moving further ahead of Lancia see points table.
Formerly the Heatway Rally, the name by which it first attracted attention overseas. then the Radio New Zealand Rally. the Motogard Rally. the Sanyo NZ Rally and the Clarion NZ Rally, this year’s event was shortened from its original 1,550 miles to 1,240 as a result of FISA’s opinion that the longer distance oversteps some crucial but mythical in our view) danger mark. Special stages were also reduced for the same reason, in number from 46 to 35. and in distance from 560 miles to 374.
The rally was based at Auckland, and was divided into four legs by intermediate rest stops at Rotorua. Next round of the World Championship will be the Argentina Rally, based at Cordoba, during the first week of August.