Rally New Zealand 2022 Live Stream: The Rally New Zealand NZ 2022 Live Stream rally race in New Zealand. It was first included as a round of the World Rally Championship in 1977. The race is famous for its fast flowing gravel roads which carry the competitors through forests and alongside the New Zealand coastline.
Rewind 27 years to the village of St. Vith in Belgium’s south-east corner. It’s the middle of the night, but there’s one seven-year-old standing, captivated by the television.
This was Colin McRae in his absolute element. This was Colin McRae dominating Rally New Zealand in 1995.
According to Ott Tänak, next week’s Kiwi roads were made for rallying. Arguably, the ultimate rally driver, McRae made those roads his own. Watching the iconic blue and yellow Subaru Impreza 555’s all-angles attack provided a powerful image for Neuville. One he hasn’t forgotten.
Smiling at the memory of mid-Nineties television, Neuville said: “Rally New Zealand was an event I always dreamed of going to when I was a kid growing up and watching guys like Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz.
“For me, it looked like the rally with the most beautiful scenery in the WRC.”
Sebastien Loeb races during the FIA World Rally Championship 2012 in Auckland, New Zealand on June 22nd, 2012.
Sébastien Loeb. Rally New Zealand and its beautiful scenery is back for 2022
There’s a good reason for that: it’s the WRC’s most scenic rally of the season. Let’s not forget, we’re running the same roads through the same fields, forests and farmland that captured Peter Jackson’s imagination when he wanted to take the drama of Middle Earth to the big screen.
New Zealand is as much a visual treat for fans as it is a work of wonder for those behind the wheel. Who are we kidding? Great as the vistas are, it’s the perfect place to drive a rally car.
What makes New Zealand great?
Camber-surfing. Positive camber is generated when the road slopes downwards toward the apex of the corner. This is a good thing, offering more gravitational grip. Negative camber is, as you would expect, the opposite. Put a ball at the apex of a corner with negative camber and watch it roll into the ditch on the outside of the bend. That’s precisely what happens to rally cars going too quickly through that sort of corner.
In New Zealand, the positive camber defines the roads more than anywhere else in the world. And makes drivers smile.
“Honestly, it’s a fantastic place to compete,” said Toyota team principal Jari-Matti Latvala, who won Rally New Zealand in 2010.
“I’m a Finn, and I’m sure you know we love our roads at home. They’re some of the best in the world – but New Zealand has the best [roads]. The camber means you can take so much more speed to the corner. If you have a steep [camber] in what would normally be, say, a third-gear corner, you can even go through in fifth gear. When you get this right, you really feel the g-forces through your body as the car rockets through the corner.
It’s like you’re dancing with the car
“And you are doing this from corner-to-corner-to-corner. It’s like you’re dancing with the car.”
But take too much speed? Get the dance slightly out of time.
“Off the road,” said Latvala, “you’ll go straight to the trees.”
Look out for it on RedBull.com – right from Thursday’s shakedown stage – the effect of the car leaping from corner-to-corner is mesmeric.
No wonder it captured Neuville’s imagination all those years ago.
Who will win?
Only Hyundai men Neuville, Tänak and Toyota’s returning superstar Sébastien Ogier have competed in NZ before, but not for a decade. This one is fairly close to a level playing field. It’s generally known as one of the faster gravel rallies which requires an attacking and committed style – which is why it’s suited the Finns (and Colin McRae) so well down the years.
All eyes will, naturally, be on Kalle Rovanperä as the 21-year-old looks to secure his maiden world title. If he manages that in the land of the long white cloud, the irony would be marked as his countryman, Marcus Grönholm, took Finland’s last WRC drivers’ title in the same place two decades ago.
It is, however, Hyundai that touches down in Auckland with the biggest spring in its step, having won four of the last six WRC rounds. Neuville, Tänak and Oliver Solberg could all be counted on for a strong run in their i20 N Rally1s.
Come the Sunday of Rally New Zealand, it will be a year since Elfyn Evans’ storming Rally Finland win – his last WRC success. The Welshman’s come close through 2022, but next week could be the moment when everything clicks, and he tops the podium for the first time in 12 months. Always good on new rallies, he’s at his best on the fast gravel.
M-Sport Ford’s Craig Breen is another driver desperate to be unleashed on these most famous of roads.
“These stages,” he said, “there’s a generation of drivers who have been waiting to get on to them. Now’s the time.”
Now most certainly is the time.