Rally Australia coming to New South Wales

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP DELIVERS FOR NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES Events NSW and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) today announced that the prestigious FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) World Rally Championship...

FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP DELIVERS FOR NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES

Events NSW and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) today announced that the prestigious FIA (Federation Internationale de l'Automobile) World Rally Championship will be staged every second year in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, with the majority of competition activity in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires.

The first event will be Repco Rally Australia on 3-6 September 2009.

The deal with Events NSW is for an initial five events taking it through to 2017 with an option to extend that arrangement for a further five events.

"The World Rally Championship will generate more than $100 million of direct economic benefit for New South Wales over the life of the agreement," said Geoff Parmenter CEO Events NSW.

"Hosting the World Rally Championship -- the highest profile four wheeled motor sport championship after Formula One - on a regular basis in Regional New South Wales will drive tourism, create jobs and deliver major economic benefits to the community.

"And the event provides a unique platform to showcase Northern New South Wales to the world. Last year more than 816 million people in 180 countries watched the World Rally with around 51 million viewers per round.

"Events NSW is delighted to have secured this event for Regional New South Wales. Rally Australia had previously been held in Perth, and we understand that three other states were eager to host it this time around.

"Tourism New South Wales, in collaboration with the New South Wales tourism industry, will develop rally packages in national and international markets to maximise tourism traffic to New South Wales.

"There are also many more opportunities in the off-year to hold motor sport and business events in New South Wales, cementing the economic impact of this deal."

The Tweed and Kyogle Shires have enthusiastically welcomed this international event to their area.

"The event would boost the local economy and showcase the Tweed as a tourism destination to a worldwide television audience," said Tweed Shire Council's General Manager Mike Rayner.

Kyogle Council's Mayor Ernie Bennett is confident that Repco Rally Australia will be a major boost to his community.

"In 2005 Kyogle lost a large number of local jobs and we see this event as providing an opportunity to return to more stable employment base, retain young people in the area and attract additional business and industry," said Mr Bennett.

"Our community will take great pride in not only being able to be part of this event but also seeing our area transmitted to the rest of the world.

"Council looks forward to working with the promoters who have a proven track record as an outstanding organisation and are looking to provide strong relationships with the community including considering the effects on the environment and ensuring energy use and waste generation are minimised."

The 12-round World Rally Championship (WRC) includes events throughout Europe, South America and Asia with motor manufacturer representation from Ford, Subaru, Citroen and Suzuki at outright level, and Mitsubishi, Renault, Fiat and Peugeot in the support categories.

The WRC is one of only three FIA world championship series along with Formula One and the World Touring Car Championship.

There are provisionally 16 competition stages in the Kyogle, Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby areas. As well as the competition stages, all the major teams will take part in significant promotional activities in Sydney to kick-off the rally week of activities.

"CAMS is thrilled that this most prestigious event will be conducted in one of the most spectacular regions of New South Wales," said CAMS President Colin Osborne.

"The Australian leg of the FIA World Rally Championship will witness up to 2,000 volunteer officials operating in the field and at the Rally Headquarters to ensure that the event is conducted safely and successfully.

"Many of those volunteers will be sourced from the local regional community and the specialist training which will be provided by CAMS will mean that the enormous economic benefit which will flow from the event will be compounded by enhanced community capital."

The announcement of the partnership with Events NSW and the location of Repco Rally Australia 2009, has been welcomed by naming rights sponsor Repco.

"Repco's involvement with motor sport dates back to our partnership with Sir Jack Brabham as he conquered the World Formula One Championship," said Colin Daly, Executive General Manager of Repco Australia and New Zealand.

"More recently, our sponsorship of World Rally Championship events in New Zealand and Australia fits perfectly alongside our core business as Australasia's preferred supplier of vehicle parts, solutions and accessories.

"We are delighted that New South Wales will significantly contribute to the success of Repco Rally Australia 2009. We look forward to working with Events New South Wales and the Repco Rally Australia 2009 team to create an exciting and memorable event that will showcase New South Wales, Australia and Repco to the international motor sports community."

Amongst the drivers set to contest Repco Rally Australia 2009 will be defending four-time world champion and the all-time leader in rally wins Sebastien Loeb (Citroen), the last winner of a Rally Australia event Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Australian superstar Chris Atkinson (Subaru).

"As an Australian I'm extremely excited about competing at Repco Rally Australia 2009," said Atkinson.

"From a competitors' point-of-view they have chosen a region that offers outstanding rally roads and the very best infrastructure for all the teams. From a fan and sponsor point-of-view, it really is going to be excellent with all the action of the rally plus first class tourist facilities.

"I give it everything at all the WRC rounds, but maybe with all the local support at Repco Rally Australia 2009 I could be looking at the top step of the podium."

As the last man to win Rally Australia in Perth, Ford's Mikko Hirvonen will have a unique opportunity to repeat as champion in the Northern Rivers region.

"That certainly has a nice sound to it," said the Finnish rally star. "All rallies offer a different challenge and I'm sure Repco Rally Australia 2009 will bring out the best in all the teams.

"The welcoming nature of Australians has always impressed me and I'm sure the new Repco Rally Australia 2009 will further underline that. The opportunity to also spend some time in Sydney is sure to be a highlight. I am sure that those who attend and follow the rally will be rewarded with a great event."

Further details, including the final course will be finalised in the coming months. Check RallyAustralia.com for all the latest information.

-credit: cams.com.au

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About this article
Series CAMS , WRC
Drivers Sébastien Loeb , Mikko Hirvonen , Jack Brabham , Colin Osborne , Chris Atkinson
Teams Citroën World Rally Team