THE best drivers in the FIA World Rally Championship will vie for a truly-Australian trophy in a new contest to deliver even more spectator excitement at Coates Hire Rally Australia on the New South Wales Coffs Coast on 11-14 September.
The ARMOR ALL Shootout will award the driver with the fastest aggregate time over four runs of the Hyundai Super Special Stage and the prize will be a custom-built Australian surfboard.
“The ARMOR ALL Shootout for the elite Priority One WRC drivers will be an incentive to drive their hardest on every lap of the Hyundai Super Special Stage track,” Event Manager David Catchpole said today.
At a function at the Opal Cove Resort rally headquarters in Coffs Harbour to launch Rally Australia’s final preparation phase – 78 days from the start of the event – Mr Catchpole said a custom surfboard would be a coveted trophy among European-based drivers used to taking home more traditional spoils.
“Drivers know they can have a lot to lose on short and tricky Super Special Stages and so sometimes they will be cautious, but the ARMOR ALL Shootout will literally give them something to shoot for.
“And if the winner has time after the rally, we’ll throw in some board-riding lessons!”
Mr Catchpole officially welcomed Coates Hire as Rally Australia title sponsor for a second year.
“The Coates Hire Rally Australia name has already been in in use for some time, but I want to take this opportunity today to official acknowledge the company’s support for 2014. I would also like to thank all of our other sponsors that have returned for 2014 along with all of our new ones.”
“With its enormous major-events experience and resources, Coates Hire is an ideal partner and we look forward to working with them again in 2014,” he said.
Thousands of spectators are expected to turn out to see the WRC cars run two laps each on the Hyundai Super Special Stage on Friday and Saturday nights of Coates Hire Rally Australia. The 1.6 km track will be located in the Hi-Tec Oils Service Park precinct, just three klms south of the city centre.
It promises to be a highlight of another spectacular Rally Australia, which will kick off with the Coates Hire Rally Show and traditional Ceremonial Start in the Coffs Harbour central mall on Thursday afternoon.
The competition itinerary over Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be one of the most spectator- and competitor-friendly in the 13-round WRC calendar, with a compact total of 320 kms over 20 Special Stages, none more than 55 kms from the service park.
Tickets are now on sale now at NMRAtix from as little as $35 for a daytime pass which will give access to some of the 13 dedicated special stage spectator points over the three days.
The most popular points are expected to be the East Coast Bullbars Rally Village on Saturday on the Nambucca stage and VisitNSW.com Flooded Gums Rally Village on Sunday on Wedding Bells – and in another announcement to today’s guests, Mr Catchpole revealed spectators will be able to travel free in shuttle-buses made possible by sponsorship from WRC tyre supplier Michelin to each of the Rally Villages.
“This is yet another benefit we’ve added to make spectating at the 2014 Coates Hire Rally Australia the most exciting experience yet,” Mr Catchpole said.
The Event Manager summarised other attractions of the 2014 program –
- The Pedders Suspension Coffs Coast 400 round of the Australian Off Road Championship, with around 50 cars competing on a separate course. WRC tickets will allow free entry also to the Coffs Coast 400.
- Support categories running on the WRC course will include the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship, Australian Classic Rally Challenge and the Side x Side Challenge
- Bonville Golf Resort will host an exclusive breakfast with WRC competitors on Monday 8 September.
- Live TV will be broadcast to the service park from stages on Saturday and Sunday, including the Power Stage finale on the Wedding Bells stage.
- The Adrenalin club presented by the NRMA will provide first-class corporate hospitality at the Super Special Stage and Rally Villages.
- Enthusiasts from Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales will travel to Rally Australia in the planned Southern Cross Touring Road Event.
- The Hi-Tec Oils Service Park will be a hub of activity day and night, with live entertainment, driver appearances, souvenir sales and a giant screen showing rally highlights. Entry will be free.
- There will be a LIVE entertainment zone opposite the Hi-Tec Oils Service Park with a magnitude of entertainment, displays, screen footage and activities for all of the family to participate in and have some fun
- Students from the Coffs Harbour Education Campus will undertake projects to assist the rally media operations and gain event organising experience. The international media centre and WRC television production centre will be located at the campus.