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Australia - 17-20 Nov 16

Posted: November 19, 2016 6:43 PM - 4166 Hits

Round 14 - 2016 World Rally Championship

Live Results (Australia 2016) Also available at: rally-base results
National Rally / Classics - Live Results (National Rally Australia 2016)
Radio: WRC All Live Audio Stream
News: www.wrc.com
Event Website: Rally Australia

First stage each day - Irish/UK Times
SS1 Thu - 20:56
SS12 Fri - 21:28
SS19 Sat - 20:43

Volkswagen targets winning farewell

Posted: November 16, 2016 1:00 PM

Volkswagen has pledged to end its FIA World Rally Championship era on a high note when its bows out in Australia this weekend after four years of dominance.

The German manufacturer's decision to axe its WRC programme earlier this month after a clean sweep of drivers', co-drivers' and manufacturers' titles during the last four seasons shocked the team and the sport alike.

But as the squad heads into the campaign's final round at Kennards Hire Rally Australia (17 - 20 November), lead driver and four-time world champion S?bastien Ogier promised to do his utmost to ensure a final celebration at the Coffs Harbour event.

"It's a strange situation for everyone at Volkswagen Motorsport," he admitted. "The announcement of our withdrawal from the World Rally Championship at the end of the year was not the way that we, as a team, wanted to celebrate our fourth title.

"The final rally with Volkswagen ? that sounds crazy. However, I'm sure I will be able to put this out of my mind during the rally. Although my starting position is not exactly promising, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have something to celebrate together again after our final outing in Australia."

Ogier and team-mates Andreas Mikkelsen and Jari-Matti Latvala have won 42 of the 51 rallies in the last four years in Polo R cars. Thirty-two-year-old Ogier has been responsible for 31 of those and clinched his third title on Australia's gravel in 2015.

Mikkelsen could secure the runners-up position behind Ogier at Sunday afternoon's finish. That and a desire to end his Volkswagen career with a strong result is pushing the Norwegian to target a win.

"Rally Australia will be very emotional, as we all know that it is the final race for Volkswagen. The team has become very close to my heart. I am very grateful for the great time together, and really want to bid farewell with a good result in Australia," he said.

Volkswagen going all out for victory at the Polo R WRC's last hurrah

Posted: November 11, 2016 9:40 AM

The final chapter of a successful era in rallying: Volkswagen lines up with the Polo R WRC in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) for the last time. The 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016* world champions have a definite maxim for the Rally Australia, the final round of the season from 17 to 20 November: milestone, not melancholy. Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (N/N), in particular, will be going all out for victory down under ? as will their team-mates Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) and Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN). The three driver/co-driver pairings have amassed a total of 42 wins from 51 rallies ? and with 621 stage wins from 935 special stages, the Volkswagen duos have clocked the fastest time on two out of every three stages over the past four years. A further 23 special stages and 312.98 kilometres against the clock around Coffs Harbour await the three Polo R WRCs, which have so far completed a total of 47,873.44 kilometres at rally speed.

Play it again, Andreas and Anders ? all or nothing in the battle for second place

A four-way battle is raging for second place in the World Rally Championship ? and Andreas Mikkelsen and Anders Jaeger are in the thick of it. The Volkswagen duo is currently third in the overall standings, 14 points behind second-placed Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (B/B, Hyundai), but three points ahead of Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (NZ/NZ, Hyundai) and ten clear of Dani Sordo/Marc Mart? (E/E, Hyundai). To end the season as the runners-up in the world championship, they must claim a podium finish at least ? preferably the win. The starting position also plays a major role in Australia. The order for Friday and Saturday is determined by the current positions in the world championship. This can be a disadvantage for the early starters, and an advantage for the world rally cars starting further down the field. So far this season, only one duo has managed to win a rally on loose gravel from one of the first three starting positions: a certain Mikkelsen and Jaeger.

Play it again, Seb and Julien ? miracles do happen

Coffs Harbour, 13 September 2015, 13:49 and eleven seconds ? Sebastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia cross the finish line at the 2015 Rally Australia as winners to wrap up the world championship and secure the Manufacturers' title for Volkswagen. The magnitude of this achievement in 2015 was bordering on miraculous: the Rally Australia is regarded as one of the very worst events, at which to open the route. However, Ogier and Ingrassia defied both physics and pre-race predictions to win. In 2016, the regulations regarding the starting order were changed, further exacerbating their situation ? were they to produce another rally miracle, it would be the 39th victory for Ogier/Ingrassia, the 32nd with Volkswagen. Motivation enough for the four-time world rally champions.

Play it again, Jari-Matti and Miikka ? in pursuit of a happy ending

The 2016 season has hardly been a lucky one for Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila. Their goal down under is to bring the year to a positive end ? ideally with a win. Latvala/Anttila's last victory came in very similar conditions at the Rally Mexico, which was also held on powdery, sandy gravel. They start sixth, the most favourable starting position of the three Volkswagen drivers.

Strobe lighting in the rainforest, coupled with a mix of monster and mini stages

Narrow and winding, or wide and flowing: the route at the Rally Australia features a wide range of characteristics. One minute you are flat-out on open ground, the next you are winding your way through tight sections, lined by unforgiving trees in the Australian rainforest. With the low sun, the result is an effect similar to strobe lighting, as the cars race in and out of the shadows. This is only exacerbated by the road surface. Extremely fine sand is whipped up into large dust clouds, restricting visibility for the drivers and demanding the utmost concentration.

One of the longest stages of the season awaits the drivers and co-drivers on Saturday, in the form of "Nambucca". Exactly 50.80 kilometres must be overcome. The enormous length and the wide variety of different surfaces encountered make this one of the greatest challenges of the entire rally. Far shorter, but by no means less spectacular, are the six spectator stages at the Rally Australia. The "Raceway" stage features on Friday and Saturday. The 1.37-kilometre Rallycross circuit has plenty of potential for a spectacular drift show. The same goes for "Destination NSW". The spectator stage in Coffs Harbour is the final stage on both of the first two days of the rally. As in 2015, the final stage of the Rally Australia, and this time the 2016 rally season, will be the beautifully-named "Wedding Bells" Power Stage.

Quotes ahead of the Rally Australia

Sebastien Ogier, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #1
"It is a strange situation for everyone at Volkswagen Motorsport. The announcement of our withdrawal from the World Rally Championship at the end of the year was not the way that we, as a team, wanted to celebrate our fourth title. We will now contest our final rally together in Australia. When I look back at the last five years, I do not only think about the success we have enjoyed together. I am grateful to have worked with such great people at Volkswagen. We have formed genuine friendships over the years. I can only hope that I see as many as possible of them again. The final rally with Volkswagen ? that sounds crazy. However, I am sure I will be able to put this out of my mind during the rally. Although my starting position is not exactly promising, I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have something to celebrate together again after our final outing in Australia."

Jari-Matti Latvala, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #2
"Last week's news was far from pleasant. It is very difficult to comprehend the magnitude of this decision in such a short time. I can only repeat that I will always remember the time at Volkswagen Motorsport. The many great moments mean a lot to me, and I would like to thank everyone in the team. It is now my duty to focus fully on the season finale in Australia again. I am really determined to do well in my last rally with Volkswagen, and will push hard to try to challenge for the win. My season has not been easy, so a good result in Australia would be doubly nice ? particularly as a farewell present to the team."

Andreas Mikkelsen, Volkswagen Polo R WRC #9
"The Rally Australia will be very emotional, as we all know that it is the final race for Volkswagen. The team has become very close to my heart. I am very grateful for the great time together, and really want to bid farewell with a good result in Australia. That is also important for Anders and me, because we want to take back second place in the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' World Championship from my friend Thierry Neuville. To do so, we must go for the win. However, this will not be easy, as we will be third onto the special stages. Despite this, we will apply pressure from the word go and give it our all. The biggest challenge at the Rally Australia are the sections with fast corners, which are hard to see. A rally in the jungle ? that is the best description. I am certainly very motivated and looking forward to Australia, as I really like driving there."

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
"We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved in four years in the World Rally Championship. We now face our final WRC rally in Australia, and it is going to be a very emotional weekend for everyone in the team. However, we will be doing everything in our power to put the icing on the cake after our twelve world titles, and will preferably bid farewell with the 43rd win for the Polo R WRC. We want to give something back to our fantastic fans around the world for the final time. We will bring to bear everything that has made us so successful over the past 51 rallies: the desire of every single person involved to achieve absolute perfection, an unparalleled team spirit, and a great passion for the sport."

Volkswagen successes in the World Rally Championship: did you know ...

... Volkswagen's WRC programme will come to an end on the Sunday of the Rally Australia? By that point, Volkswagen will have topped the Drivers' and Co-Drivers' Championship for an uninterrupted 986 days with Sebastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia and the Manufacturers' standings for a remarkable 1,346 days in a row.

... Volkswagen has claimed 85 podium results in 51 races so far in the World Rally Championship? 42 of these have been victories, 25 second places and 18 third places?

... Volkswagen has made the Power Stage its own? In the 50 Power Stages so far, 194 points have gone to Hannover. The team has achieved 38 stage wins, 27 second places and 26 third places since 2013.

... the full set of bonus points on the Power Stage have gone to Volkswagen on four occasions? In Italy and Poland in 2014, and at the rallies in Portugal and Italy in 2015.

... the average distance of the 935 special stages the Polo R WRC has contested so far is 18.83 kilometres?

... the Volkswagen drivers have finished in the top three on special stages a total of 1,524 times? Even more impressive is the fact that the Volkswagen drivers finished one-two-three 104 times.

... Volkswagen holds the record for the longest winning run in the World Rally Championship? The Wolfsburg-based car maker won twelve rallies in a row on two occasions: from the 2012 Rally Australia to the 2014 Rally Finland, and from the Rally Portugal in 2015 to the Rally Mexico in 2016.

... Volkswagen has scored points at every rally since the 2013 Rally Monte Carlo, when the Polo R WRC made its debut in the FIA World Rally Championship?

... the team has finished one-two 19 times and one-two-three four times in the WRC over the past four years?

... Volkswagen also boasts the greatest number of wins in one season? The team triumphed twelve times in both 2014 and 2015.

Number for the weekend: 472,157.347

Volkswagen's four-year era at the pinnacle of rallying draws to a close at the Rally Australia ? and the manufacturer has also enjoyed an impressive record on social networks. On 01 January 2013, the car maker started out with 51,759 fans on its Motorsport channel on Facebook. Shortly before the finale of the 2016 season in Australia, just short of 5.4 million people are fans on facebook.com/volkswagenmotorsport. Text, photo and video content during this time have achieved roughly 472 million contacts and over 15 million interactions. The number of followers on Twitter rose from zero to almost 92,000. Fans of Volkswagen Motorsport reacted to the 11,000 plus Tweets on twitter.com/volkswagenrally about 200,000 times. The team conducts up to 500 chats on WhatsApp during a rally. Honestly, from the bottom of our heart and, for a change, personally: Volkswagen Motorsport Communications would like to thanks the fans, journalists and partners in the World Rally Championship for a fantastic time. Goodbye.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA.

M-Sport - A FOND FAREWELL IN AUSTRALIA

Posted: November 10, 2016 10:33 AM

Next week's Kennards Hire Rally Australia marks the end of an era as M-Sport's current Ecoboost-powered Ford Fiesta RS WRC contests its last official outing in the FIA World Rally Championship.

Having claimed victory on its debut 2,097 days ago at the 2011 edition of Rally Sweden, the top-specification Fiesta has been entered 531 times on 78 different events ? securing 50 top-three finishes and three clean-sweeps of the podium.

As a key figure in the Fiesta's success, Mads Ostberg is responsible for nine podiums and contributed to all three podium lockouts ? a statistic which can only be matched by Volkswagen Motorsport.

Partnered by compatriot Ola Floene, Ostberg will be hoping to challenge at the head of the field next week and looking to secure his best result on Australian soil. Despite his vast experience, the Norwegian has only contested the Australian fixture on two previous occasions and secured his best result of fifth when piloting the Fiesta in 2013.

That said, Ostberg is no slouch when it comes to the event's unique stages ? posting top-three times on both of his previous encounters. Eager to master the season finale, the Norwegian should not be discounted for a strong result.

Contesting the event for the first time, Eric Camilli and co-driver Benjamin Veillas will be looking to close a year of development with another solid finish. Using the 2016 season to gain experience, Camilli has also shown flashes of speed ? posting top-five times on his debut and securing a first stage victory on only the sixth round of the season.

Having never experienced the Australian roads, the Frenchmen will continue to acquire as much knowledge as possible. Keen to make it through all of the stages unscathed, a clean run could also yield a strong result.

But strong results are not easily achieved in Australia ? the crews having to work for every tenth of a second. Hard-based gravel roads mean that there is an element of cleaning, but that should not lull the fortunate into a false sense of security with a multitude of challenges to overcome.

The stages themselves provide a mix between tight and twisty forest tracks, and fast and flowing shire lanes. Traversing dense rainforests, trees line the route and the low sun can cause a strobe effect which hampers visibility.

If that weren't enough, hanging dust can often pose an added challenge and those with full confidence in their pacenotes can often reap the rewards.

A strong result in Australia will be hard-fought, but it would be the perfect way to bid farewell to a car which has delivered so much.

QUOTE, END QUOTE

Mads Ostberg said:
"Every year I enjoy coming back to Australia and the unique challenges that it has to offer. It really is like nothing else in the championship ? so different to anything else we experience throughout the year.

"The character of the stages changes quite a lot and we often switch from very wide, open roads to tight and twisty sections in the forests. Recce is really important. You need to keep the rhythm in your notes and have every tree and rock noted. It's a big challenge to end the season.

"The event is a little later this year so we'll have to see how that affects the advantages and disadvantages of running order. Generally, it's better to be further back, but there is also a risk of hanging dust which can be really challenging so we'll just have to wait and see how it plays out.

"It's strange to think that I've only contested this event twice before, but we will give it our all and always want to achieve the best possible result."

Eric Camilli said:
"I'm really looking forward to experiencing another new rally and discovering all of the challenges that Australia has to offer. This is my first time at this event so there will be a lot to learn, but we're really looking forward to it. From what I've seen, it looks like a fantastic rally with amazing scenery and stages.

"As with any new event, the pacenotes that we make on the pre-event reconnaissance will be really important. Thankfully, we have made a big step forward in that area this year. Our pacenotes have progressed a lot over the past 12 months, and next week's event gives us an opportunity to put everything into practice.

"We want to end the season on a high, but it is also important to complete all of the stages and gain maximum experience. I believe that we have already shown the speed that we can be capable of, so we'll just take each stage as it comes and aim to build on our performance throughout the weekend."

Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said:
"It's the end of an era, and Rally Australia provides a fantastic setting for us to say goodbye to the current Fiesta RS WRC ? a car which has given us much success over the years.

"After claiming a podium lockout on its competitive debut, the Fiesta became the car of choice for many and the fact that it has been entered more than 500 times at WRC level proves the extent of its popularity and performance.

"Fifty podiums and three clean-sweeps of the podium is a fantastic achievement and something that we are all very proud of. It would be great to wave goodbye to such a successful car with a strong result next week."

Entry List

Posted: October 20, 2016 4:00 PM

World champion Sebastien Ogier tops provisional entries for Rally Australia

Posted: October 18, 2016 10:39 AM

New world champion Sebastien Ogier tops a star-studded list of international drivers who will contest the closing round of the FIA World Rally Championship at Kennards Hire Rally Australia on the New South Wales Coffs Coast next month.

Ogier, who won his fourth straight title in Spain last weekend, was nominated by his Volkswagen Motorsport team when entries for Australia closed last night.

The line-up for the 17-20 November event remains provisional until ratified by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile, but will include 10 crews representing Volkswagen, Hyundai, M-Sport Ford and other top-level teams in the outright category, plus internationals in the WRC2 division and Australian privateers, in makes such as Citroen, Peugeot, Skoda, Subaru and Mitsubishi.

Entries for the final round of the 2016 Kumho Tyres Australian Rally Championship, to be run over the same weekend and course as the world championship, close on October 27.

Clerk of Course Wayne Kenny says the final seeded entry list will feature the fastest rally drivers in the world and in Australia – and promises there will still be plenty to fight for even though the 2016 drivers' and co-drivers' titles were decided at last weekend's 11th round.

"Sebastien Ogier was a clear winner, but the competition for second and third positions in the championship is still wide open, with six drivers still mathematically in contention and two rounds remaining – Great Britain later this month and then Kennards Hire Rally Australia. The manufacturers' championship also is in contention.

"WRC2 is undecided and we'll be welcoming the factory Skoda team of Kopecky and Lappi, former Junior World Rally Champion Nicolas Fuchs from Peru and several other internationals," Mr Kenny said.

"I'm particularly pleased to see the likes of Australians Brendan Reeves and Molly Taylor step up as WRC privateers, waving the flag for our great Australian rally-driving talent and taking the chance to test themselves against some of the best from the rest of the world.

"Brendan and Molly already have extensive international experience under their wheels, but we strongly support all Australian drivers entering their WRC home round to help their development. It's good to see even some State competitors have taken the step."

Rally Australia driver ambassador Reeves, who has competed in the world championship as well as in the Asia-Pacific, New Zealand, United States and Australia, submitted his entry while assisting Hyundai Motorsport at WRC Rally de Espa?a last weekend.

"To compete against the world's best on our home turf is an incredible feeling," Reeves said.

"The extra media coverage and huge support around the event is also a massive bonus for me to enter the WRC section."

Taylor, who has been ranked the world's top female rally driver since 2013 and also assists Hyundai, is looking forward to competing at home with drivers she challenged in Europe.

"We're doing it for the opportunity to compete within the WRC, because there are not too many chances to do that from Australia," she said.

The showdown for the 2016 Australian title will be the closest in the competition's history. Four-time champion Simon Evans leads the standings with 251 points, with Molly Taylor on 246 and Harry Bates on 245.

Whoever wins will have a story to tell – Evans is the country's fastest driver but would win in the championship's oldest car, while Taylor would be the first female champion and 21-year-old Bates the youngest.

Starting with the rally show and ceremonial start on Thursday and followed by three days of special stage competition including the Destination NSW Super Special Stage on the Coffs Harbour waterfront on Friday and Saturday, the world-class motorsport action will be non-stop until the podium celebrations in the Coffs Harbour CBD on Sunday afternoon.

Hyundai renews WRC Rally Australia sponsorship

Posted: October 4, 2016 10:12 AM

HYUNDAI will renew its support as a major sponsor and official vehicle supplier to Kennards Hire Rally Australia, the closing round of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship.

The partnership announced today will see a range of Hyundai passenger vehicles in official use throughout the 17-20 November event on the New South Wales Coffs Coast.

The sponsorship for a third year by Hyundai Motor Company Australia will showcase the Korean manufacturer’s three-car entry in Rally Australia for drivers Thierry Neuville (Belgium), Dani Sordo (Spain) and Hayden Paddon (New Zealand).

Rally Chairman Ben Rainsford welcomed Hyundai’s sponsorship, which he said added valuable resources and impetus to the event.
“It’s great to have Hyundai Australia on board for a third year of Rally Australia,” he said.

“The drive that has pushed Hyundai products to the top of the Australian sales charts and achieved two wins for the Hyundai New Generation i20 WRC car in this season’s world championship will be welcome in helping the success of Kennards Hire Rally Australia.”

Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer Charlie Kim said:
“Rallying is part of Hyundai’s DNA, it is in our blood. WRC breeds the best technology and a great spirit of competition. So, as we continue the development of the Hyundai brand, it is vital that we support this fantastic international series.

“We are proud of Hyundai Motorsport’s achievements with the New Generation i20 WRC car and we are also proud to sponsor the Australian round of the championship. We cannot wait to get to Coffs Harbour in November.”

Preparations for Kennards Hire Rally Australia are in the final weeks, with organisers putting finishing touches to plans for the new Destination NSW Super Special Stage beside Coffs Harbour plus a further 300 kilometres of challenging rural and forest rally roads. Tickets on sale from Ticketek.com include a limited 2-for-1 offer on Super Special Stage entry.

World Rally Australia on track to be the best yet

Posted: August 25, 2016 5:58 AM

New special stages with excellent viewing choices, worldwide live television coverage, greater local support and a more open fight for the FIA World Rally Championship look set to make the 2016 Kennards Hire Rally Australia the best in the event’s 25-year history.

The event on the New South Wales Coffs Coast on 17-20 November will welcome top manufacturer teams from Europe and the best competitors from around Australia to tackle a 315 kilometre course comprising 23 special stages designed to challenge the world’s fastest rally drivers.

The 2016 Kennards Hire Rally Australia was officially launched in Coffs Harbour today, 85 days before the event starts, with rally drivers Adrian Coppin, Nathan Quinn, Mark Beard and Mal Keough taking to a short section of the Wedding Bells special stage to demonstrate their speed in very wet conditions.

Chairman Ben Rainsford said everything was set for another successful event.

“Every year since we came to the Coffs Coast in 2011, Rally Australia has grown in popularity, partner support and organisational and presentation standards. Last year, it generated a $14.3 million boost to the regional economy,” Mr Rainsford said.

“The scheduling of Rally Australia 2016 as the closing round of the WRC season, a calendar position it hasn't held since 2005, brings new opportunities to develop and popularise the event.

“Our new Destination NSW Super Special Stage – at the Jetty precinct literally alongside Coffs Harbour – other special stage enhancements including to the exciting Flooded Gum spectator point on the final stage and truly spectacular opening and closing ceremonies will all be highlights for our ticket holders.

“WRC TV’s live coverage of the Friday Jetty super special and two passes through Wedding Bells on Sunday, plus its daily wrap shows and news feeds will showcase the region to a massive audience.

“In 2015, the Rally Australia TV audience was 68.24 million viewers, who saw a total of 588 broadcast hours, according to Repucom. Such exposure is of inestimable value to New South Wales, the Coffs coast and our major partners.

“Across the Coffs region, there has been a growing recognition in the past year of the benefits Rally Australia brings. It’s very pleasing that support from local businesses has increased significantly and will play an important part in ensuring the rally’s success and encouraging the wider community.”

While most of the competition roads to the north and south of the Coffs Harbour base are unchanged from 2015, organisers have added a second Super Special Stage at Raleigh, a 1.37 kms sprint at a multi-motorsports facility 20 kms south of Coffs Harbour on the Pacific Highway.

In an innovation designed to attract spectators, adult tickets will be just $10 and sold only at the gate. Other tickets, including a limited 2-for-1 offer for the Destination NSW Super Special Stage, are on sale through Ticketek.com.

At nine spectator points across the course, ticket holders will see stunning up-close action from the world’s fastest rally drivers in the world’s fastest rally cars. The contenders will include the Australian crew of Scott Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt, who have already distinguished themselves with a fourth-place finish in the WRC2 category this season.

And hopefully fans will see not only an exciting event, but also a battle to the end for top placings in the drivers’ world championship.

This year’s WRC has been the most open since 2012 and while Frenchman Sebastien Ogier is in the box seat to secure a fourth straight title with Volkswagen, the diverse challenge of the remaining rounds in France, Spain, Great Britain and Australia could see the competition play out all the way to the podium in Coffs Harbour on 20 November.

Harbourside World Rally speed test a highlight of Rally Australia tickets

Posted: July 22, 2016 7:01 AM

THE fastest rally drivers and cars in the world will race beside the shore of Coffs Harbour in New South Wales when an arena-style Super Special Stage returns to Kennards Hire Rally Australia in November.

The Destination NSW Super Special Stage, to be run on Friday and Saturday of the 17-20 November FIA World Rally Championship closing round, is one of the entertainment highlights on offer with tickets now on sale at Ticketek.com

Tickets to nine spectator points across the rally’s three competition days are available. Adult prices range from just $29 for a one-day visit to $140 for a three-day Super Pass including grandstand seating at the Super Special Stage.

An early-bird 2-for-1 offer makes Destination NSW Super Special Stage tickets even more enticing – two adults and two children aged under 12 can see the Super Special for $30 total – and, overall, 2016 tickets offer lower prices and better value. Extra discounts are available to visitors who book a Virgin Australia flight and accommodation package.

Fans at the Super Special Stage will see WRC cars complete two runs on a 1.27 kilometre waterfront course on Jordan Esplanade, in the Jetty recreation precinct of the host city.

Action starts at 5 pm each day, ensuring excellent daylight viewing from grandstands and other elevated vantage points and allowing the harbour - one of the Coffs Coast’s most spectacular natural assets – to be showcased during a global live television broadcast on Friday.

The Destination NSW Super Special Stage will bring the up-close thrills of World Rally Championship spectating into the heart of one of NSW’s most popular tourist destinations.

Against a backdrop of harbour and Pacific Ocean, stars such as World Champion Sebastien Ogier, Australia’s Scott Pedder, Mads Ostberg, Ott Tänak and recent round winners Andreas Mikkelsen, Hayden Paddon and Thierry Neuville will tackle a jump and a motocross-style berm corner on the new course.

Rally Australian Chairman Ben Rainsford says the Destination NSW Super Special Stage promises a fun-filled experience for families and rally enthusiasts..

“The Destination NSW Super Special Stage will be in a scenic waterfront setting barely two kilometres from the city centre, where Kennards Hire Rally Australia will have started officially the night before,” he said.

“For a very inexpensive price, spectators will see the world’s fastest rally drivers and cars in action from great vantage points, in daylight.

“Finally the whole show will be finished in time for people to stroll out of the stage and enjoy dinner at one of the Jetty’s many restaurants. It will be a brilliant experience of the best the World Rally Championship has to offer.”

The traditional special stages of Kennards Hire Rally Australia will again traverse forestry and rural shire roads north and south of the Coffs Harbour service park and headquarters.

Friday will feature spectator points around Taylors Arm and Urunga in Nambucca Shire and Saturday moves slightly farther north to locations at Talarm, Bowraville, Argents Hill and Newee Creek.

And there will be a bonus for spectators on Friday and Saturday mornings with the new Raleigh Super Special Stage, a 1.37 km test run at a multi-motorsports facility 20 kms south of Coffs Harbour and close to the Pacific Highway. Adult tickets priced at just $10 will be available only at the gate.

Sunday’s finale including the televised WRC Power Stage will be played out at the Flooded Gum Rally Village on Wedding Bells Stage. Flooded Gum is expected to attract thousands of spectators to see its popular jump and a new feature that will allow spectators to see each car for a longer time.

Food, drink, live commentary, entertainment, souvenir stands, other attractions and the brilliance of WRC drivers in action will make Flooded Gum an exciting climax to the Kennards Hire Rally Australia weekend.

Member of the NSW Parliament for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser says the event will again showcase the region to the world and provide a major boost to the local visitor economy.

"We’re delighted the Coffs Coast will host Rally Australia for the fifth time and can’t wait to welcome fans back in droves to check out the world's best drivers in action,” Mr Fraser said.

"I encourage visitors to head to the Destination NSW Super Special Stage and learn more about what our spectacular coastline and local region has to offer."

WRC Rally Australia still a world leader in environment

Posted: July 22, 2016 7:00 AM

RALLY Australia’s status as a world leader in environmental sustainability in motorsport has been confirmed after it achieved a major award for a second time this week.

The FIA Institute for Sustainability, part of the world motorsport governing body, announced its highest environmental standard, the Achievement of Excellence, had been awarded to Rally Australia following a recent audit.

The organisers of Australia’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) were praised for their post-event report and carbon footprint calculations, which the FIA said reflected their sustainability knowledge.

Now in its 25th year, Rally Australia has hosted the WRC on the New South Wales Coffs Coast since 2011. It will close the 2016 series with Kennards Hire Rally Australia on 17-20 November.

In 2013, Rally Australia became the first motorsport event in the world to receive the Achievement of Excellence award for environmental sustainability, which is backed by the FIA’s Action for Environment campaign.

Subsequently, the rally was also confirmed as the first FIA-regulated event to achieve Carbon Neutral Status.

The FIA Institute’s latest announcement also awarded the Achievement of Excellence to WRC Rally Sweden for the first time and confirmed second-level Progress Towards Excellence status for WRC Rally Portugal.

All events in the FIA World Rally Championship will have to achieve accreditation under the FIA Action for Environment campaign and the FIA Institute Sustainability Programme by the end of the 2016.

Rally Australia’s new achievement was welcomed by FIA Institute Deputy President and FIA Environmental Delegate Garry Connelly AM.

“I am delighted to recognise the highest award in the Sustainability Programme again to Rally Australia and to the SBF (Swedish Automobile Sport Federation) for the first time,” Mr Connelly said.

“I am also very pleased to see that Rally Portugal is now at the level of Progress Towards Excellence.

“That all of these awards have been achieved at a similar time reflects the drive and positive approach many motor sport stakeholders now have towards the environment. We hope this will encourage others to follow their example and join the FIA Action for Environment.”

Rally Australia’s ongoing environmental program, managed by specialist consultant Colin Trinder, undertakes extensive measures to protect and preserve the local Coffs Coast environment. It seeks to ensure the lowest possible impact from the presence of thousands of visitors attending the four-day event.

Event Chairman Ben Rainsford said the second FIA Institute Achievement of Excellence award was an important milestone for the organiser and the host region.

“We’re fortunate to stage Kennards Hire Rally Australia in a region rich with pristine natural attractions and that we have an opportunity to showcase this to the world,” he said.

“The Achievement of Excellence award for a second time is proof our in-house environmental team under Colin Trinder has world-class expertise and is dedicated to protecting this environment. We take every imaginable measure, from flora and fauna audits, to spill prevention, recycling and carbon offset and the Coffs Coast community can be proud of this latest award.”

WRC Rally Australia throttles ahead as Council approves funding

Posted: July 22, 2016 6:57 AM

RALLY Australia will accelerate preparations to host its 24th FIA World Rally Championship event next November after funding by the Coffs Harbour City Council was approved.

The Council, which is centred on the Coffs Coast region of New South Wales that hosts the event, voted to support the 2016 and 2017 rallies, reversing a decision taken previously.

“There are now just over 200 days until Kennards Hire Rally Australia on 17-20 November and with this brief hiatus behind us we’re clear to put the throttle down on planning and organisation for what will be our best event yet,” Rally Australian Chairman Ben Rainsford said.

“We’ll do so with the strongest possible demonstration of support from the Coffs Coast community, which spoke out against the original decision and turned out in big number last night to see its will acknowledged.

“A Coffs Coast 2016 rally would have gone ahead whatever the vote, as we have other key supporters including the New South Wales government and commercial sponsors.

“But almost nothing is more important than this community support and its emergence like never before is the silver lining in this matter. We’ve actually gained from it.”

Mr Rainsford said Rally Australia’s stable financial position and all-round support would assist negotiations begun recently with WRC authorities to host rounds in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

About Rally Australia

Rally Australia on 17-20 November 2016 will be the 25th Rally Australia and the country’s 24th WRC event (the first event in 1988 was a round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship). With support from the New South Wales Government through its Destination NSW tourism and major events agency, the event moved to the Coffs Coast region in 2011 and immediately earned widespread community support. The rally features a compact format on gravel forestry and shire roads north, south and west of the Coffs Harbour headquarters, making it easy for spectators and competitors to reach the competitive stages. The stages 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. It’s also highly consumer-relevant, as rounds based in 14 countries on five continents pit drivers in highly-modified versions of popular showroom models over closed mostly-public roads in real-world conditions varying from gravel and asphalt to snow, ice, heat and high altitude. Started in 1973, the WRC has been a battleground for makes including Toyota, Subaru, Ford, Citroen, Fiat, Audi, Mitsubishi, Mini, Peugeot and others. Teams representing Volkswagen, Citroen, Ford and Hyundai currently contest the outright category and Toyota will re-join from 2017, meaning four of the world’s top-five car makes are committed to the WRC. The series 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 and organised by WRC Promoter GmbH.

About Kennards Hire

Kennards Hire started back in 1948 when Walter Kennard hired a piece of machinery to someone who asked if they could borrow it from his garage. It has grown to be the largest family-owned hire company in Australia. Kennards has over 150 branches throughout Australia and New Zealand and, in a first for the equipment hire industry in Australia and New Zealand, the ability to hire on-line. Kennards Hire includes a number of specialist divisions including Concrete Care, Lift & Shift, Test & Measure, Pump & Power, Traffic and Rail. Its expert advice and hire equipment services the DIY customer at home and tradesman through to residential and commercial construction sites. Kennards Hire has a reputation for reliability, exceptional customer service and making the customer’s job easy. Kennards Hire's family culture and continuous drive for improvement has been the driving force behind its success and has led it to be the leaders in the hire industry.

Rally Guide / Event Website

Posted: July 22, 2016 6:55 AM

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