Popular Daybreaker might bring back midnight start

Not only is Manawatu's Daybreaker Rally returning to the national championship on June 29, but it might soon be living up to its original title.

The event was run by Rally Wairarapa last year, and the organisation is considering reverting to the old format of a midnight start with a noon finish.

When the Daybreaker started in 1983, it was a departure from the daytime formats.

In its heyday as part of the national championship, the event was often over-subscribed.

Now night stages have almost disappeared, aside from a couple at recent Otago events.

"It will be popular with some [drivers]," said Rally Wairarapa's Bruce Sollitt.

"There has been a bit of a calling for the way we used to do things.

"It is still in the planning stage."

Nothing has been confirmed, but the route could veer towards Taihape.

Last year's Daybreaker Rally attracted 60 cars. "I wouldn't say it was hugely profitable, but it attracted good numbers," Sollitt said.

He said there was a feeling that running five two-day events in the national championship was not in everybody's interests.

This year there will be four one-dayers, and Otago and Whangarei over two days.

The Daybreaker will remain part of the Xtreme Rally Challenge, the rival series set up last year.

Two of those rounds will also be part of the Rally NZ national championships - the Daybreaker and the Possum Bourne Rally out of Pukekohe.

To keep the Daybreaker going, Rally Wairarapa took over the event from Motorsport Manawatu in 2011.

"It had become difficult for them to run," said Sollitt. "It was an important event, it had been around for a long time, and we wanted to preserve it."

Palmerston North driver Geof Argyle was heavily involved with getting Rally Xtreme off the ground last year, and was initially happy to see the Daybreaker back with the main event.

"We thought it was a good idea to make everyone more together," he said.

Now he's not sure, because the Xtreme supporters still want to have their own classes, and have also been told that any cars running in the Extreme series must not be shown on television alongside coverage of the national series.

TV3 is caught in the middle because it intends to cover both series. Rally Xtreme has five one-hour TV packages.

Manawatu Standard