The smoothness of the New Zealand Rally's gravel road course will allow teams to set up cars for low ground clearance and maximum agility, says Peugeot's technical director Michel Nandan.

The smoothness of the New Zealand Rally's gravel road course will allow teams to set up cars for low ground clearance and maximum agility, says Peugeot's technical director Michel Nandan.

Marcus Gronholm's Peugeot 206 WRC has won the event twice in the past three years and Nandan believes that teams will find the best technical setup for New Zealand if they prepare their cars almost as one would for an asphalt rally.

"By placing the emphasis on agility, the car will handle properly through the flowing sequences of corners that you get down there," Nandan told . "We try to optimise the suspension and differential settings so that the car feels as fluent as possible."

"You don't need a lot of ground clearance in New Zealand and can get away with running the car quite low, which will make the handling sharper. The set-up is not dissimilar to Finland, although Finland is a lot quicker," he added.

Teams also find that competing in the Rally of New Zealand is a completely different experience to that of European WRC events.

"New Zealand is a bit like how we used to rally 10 or 15 years ago, without big motorhomes and with a lot of borrowed vans! We don't have all the resources available to us that we do in Europe, but we've got a lot of equipment already out there," Nandan said.

Nandan further expects there will be few retirements in the Rally of New Zealand and that the outcome of the race will "boil down to pure competition".

"New Zealand is not a rough rally that damages the car so there are normally very few retirements, although accidents can always happen. Generally speaking you won't see ripped off wheels or big cuts in New Zealand, so it's logical to expect the number of retirements to be fewer", he added.