To the thousands that throng the Otago Rally route each year, the presence of a top line driver out of Europe is something that they can be forgiven for taking for granted. Since 2001, a stream of similarly ranked drivers has made the trek south, although most of them had already retired from international rallying. Østberg was an exception to this.
Classic Rallying in New Zealand
This type of motorsport was essentially pioneered by a syndicate headed by Canterbury farmer and wine grower, Brent Rawstron, who remains an integral part of the team that brings these drivers to Otago. Not only does he share in the costs with the rally organisers, he also supplies a car (a Ford Escort RS 1800), the service crew and assists with entertaining the visitors.
The roots of the classic rally scene go back to 1991, when Rawstron decided it was time for rallying in New Zealand to also include something for the cars that had helped create the wonderful history that this form of motorsport has offered since the late 1960s.
“Race meetings like the SKOPE caught my attention and the realisation that rallying should also do something about it. So, we made a decision to run what was the 21st anniversary of rallying in New Zealand and the Silver Fern Rally was born,” he explained.
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