SPECTACULAR off road competition cars in a round of their national championship will boost the excitement for spectators at Rally Australia on the New South Wales Coffs Coast next September.
The Australian Off Road Championship will be a new feature of the support program for Rally Australia, which will host round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) as its headline event on 12-15 September.
Its addition is part of a plan by organisers to increase the range of attractions and facilities at the Rally Australia festival, adding to the excitement and value for ticket holders.
While cars in the WRC and Australian Rally Championship – which also will run at Rally Australia – contest relatively short stages on closed shire and forestry roads, the off-roaders will tackle longer stages over rougher bush terrain.
Specially-built buggies, SUVs and utes are among the most impressively-engineered machines in motorsport, boasting big horsepower to drive them across rugged and muddy tracks at up to 200 kmh and long suspension travel to handle spectacular jumps and other obstacles.
Drivers and navigators will need endurance as well as skill to complete an event of more than 300 kms over two or three days at Rally Australia.
While the main action is expected to be to the south of Coffs Harbour, near one of the sport’s traditional bases around Kempsey, off road competitors also will tackle the nightly Super Special Stage alongside the WRC and ARC rally cars and share their Service Park facilities.
Chairman of the AORC’s commercial entity ORRInc., Edwin Vandenberg, said the event would showcase the extreme nature of the vehicles and their capabilities to an audience across Australia and internationally.
Marilyn Emmins, Chair of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport’s Australian Off Road Commission, welcomed the innovative link-up of rallying and off-roading.
“This will be a great experience for off road teams and we’re delighted to be joining with Rally Australia,” she said.
Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said the off road event would add an exciting new attraction to the September weekend.
“Spectators will certainly get their thrills with the Australian Off Road Championship. These cars are true crowd-pleasers – they run fast, fly high and sound loud,” he said.
“It will showcase the sport to a new audience of spectators and television viewers and will be a terrific opportunity for crews who want to compete in the company of the world’s best.
“As well, the crews, families and supporters who follow the Off Road Championship will add significantly to the local economic benefit generated by more than a week of activity around Rally Australia.”
Mr Rainsford said the off road round was the first of many additions and refinements organisers expected to announce over the coming months aimed at making Rally Australia one of the country’s greatest annual motorsport events.
About Rally Australia
Rally Australia on 12-15 September 2013 will be the 22nd WRC event in Australia and the third since it moved to New South Wales from Western Australia. The 2011 rally attracted more than 13,000 visitors to the Coffs Coast, generating more than 64,000 bed nights and a net economic impact of more than $12 million for the region, according to Destination NSW. The shire and forestry roads of the Coffs Harbour, Nambucca, Bellingen and Clarence Valley local government areas provide a true challenge for the WRC drivers against a magnificent backdrop of subtropical coastal and hinterland scenery.
About the FIA World Rally Championship
The FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) is widely regarded as the world’s most challenging motorsport championship. Rounds in 13 countries pit drivers in highly-modified versions of popular production cars over a series of timed “special stages” on surfaces varying from gravel and asphalt to snow and ice. Started in 1973, the WRC over the years has been a battleground for makes including Toyota, Subaru, Ford, Citroen, Fiat, Audi, Mitsubishi, Mini and Peugeot. Volkswagen and Hyundai are poised to join the series, which attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators in some countries and a huge global television audience. The WRC is regulated and controlled by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body for motorsport worldwide.
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