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RALLY Australia will host a flying visit by star British driver Elfyn Evans to help finalise the course for the FIA World Rally Championship round on the New South Wales Coffs Coast next September.
Evans, winner of the 2012 WRC Academy series for up-and-coming drivers, will visit the Coffs Coast for three days from 4 March.
Accompanied by the event’s sporting chief, Clerk of Course Adrian Stafford, Evans will drive proposed rally Special Stages north, south and east of Coffs Harbour to advise if they are suitable and safe for the high-speed world rally cars.
Up to 100 cars from Europe, Britain, Australia and other countries are expected to contest Rally Australia in the WRC and support categories.
Elfyn Evans’ visit is to comply with a request from the world motorsport governing body, the Federation de l’Automobile (FIA), for an internationally-experienced driver to conduct a Safety Inspection of new or changed Special Stages, both of which are planned for the 12-14 September Rally Australia.
“The purpose is to identify pieces of road that the driver considers tricky or which have potentially serious hazards, such as steep drops or trees,” Mr Stafford said.
“These can then be discussed on the spot, so the Clerk of Course can propose solutions or at least get a clear understanding of the potential problem so changes can be made before the competition course is finalised.”
Evans will travel to the Coffs Coast after competing in the opening round of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship in Canberra on the previous weekend.
He’ll drive a Ford Fiesta R2 for Innate motorsport through a deal organised by RSPORT Motorsport, the Australian importing agent for British WRC team M-Sport, which employs Evans.
The 24-year-old Welshman is considered a bright prospect as a future British World Rally Champion, having established a record of winning at every level he has tackled to date.
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This year he will contest a program of WRC events – his prize for winning the WRC Academy – and experience a year working at M-Sport, helping to develop Ford Fiesta rally cars for the WRC and other championships.
Although Evans’ WRC program will not include Rally Australia this year, Mr Stafford hopes the young star will take good impressions of his visit home to the WRC community.
“Elfyn is a highly-respected driver and his impressions of the rally roads, the beautiful scenery, our plans and preparations, the enthusiasm of the community and some of the local attractions we plan to show him will be of great interest to potential international entrants,” Mr Stafford said.
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 individual visitors to the Coffs Coast, generating more than 64,000 bed nights and a net economic impact of $14.8 million, 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.
For further information, please contact:
Ben Rainsford Chris Nixon
Chairman Media Manager
Rally Australia M. +61 418 759 417
M. +61 419 816 227 E. [email protected]