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RALLY Australia is to locate its hub for the FIA World Rally Championship near the centre of Coffs Harbour, delivering fans an exciting, up-close experience when the world’s fastest drivers and cars visit next September.

A new Super Special Stage using a velodrome in Brelsford Park for match races over three nights will be the centerpiece of a Rally Hub during the 12-15 September event and in the preceding days when teams from overseas and Australia set up their service garages.

The finish podium, a stage, souvenir and food outlets, corporate hospitality suites and the international Media Centre also will be part of the complex.

The move will allow organisers to raise the profile of the event by bringing it to within a block of the heart of the New South Wales coastal city.

Event Clerk of Course Adrian Stafford said positive support from the Coffs Coast community gave organisers the confidence to move from the initially-proposed Jetty Foreshores site.

“The new Super Special Stage design can allow match racing with two cars starting together in a pursuit format on opposite sides of the former velodrome tarmac circuit in Brelsford Park,” Mr Stafford said.

“Taking the stage into the city precinct also allows us to significantly improve spectator access and create a truly carnival atmosphere.

“The beautiful eucalypt trees backdrop will tell the huge TV audience around the world that this is Australia and the grassy banks will provide fantastic viewing.

“The plan also enables us to bring the Service Park alongside the city Stage and create what I believe will be one of most exciting Rally Hubs in the world.

“WRC teams will be able to showcase their engineering excellence to fans, who can wander between the service areas and the racing Stage. Even the Ceremonial Start in the city mall is now only one block away.”

Event Manager David Catchpole said the organisers would continue community engagement to ensure any potential disruptions from the event were minimised.

“We also intend to retain some promotional activity in the Jetty area to highlight the beautiful natural environment of the Coffs Coast,” he said.

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“The community’s strong support for Rally Australia will not only assist our plans for 2013 but also enhance our bid to the FIA to make it an annual event.”

Mr Catchpole said organisers could now move ahead with confidence to the detailed planning phase knowing the new Rally Hub provided a great support base for traditional rally stages in the surrounding State Forests.

“Forests Corporation NSW are providing information and support to allow us to create an even more compact overall route at the same time as increasing our presence in nearby towns,” he said.

“We expect to make some exciting announcements about spectating opportunities in the rally forest stages.”

Mr Stafford and Mr Catchpole said Rally Australia had made significant planning progress in the past few months.

A meeting with the NSW Government All Agency group yesterday highlighted the support the event received from many areas of government, enabling greater potential for financial and promotional benefits to the Coffs Coast region and NSW.

“With the September date now just over six months away, we are ahead of our planning schedule, which will ensure the highest possible standard of event,” 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:

David Catchpole Chris Nixon
Event Manager Media Manager
Rally Australia M. +61 418 759 417
M. +61 417 645 197 E. [email protected]

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Dallas Dogger

Dallas Dogger is one of the team of commentators for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.