THE biggest show to ever come to the Coffs Coast is only three days away and today the star attractions arrive.

Rally Australia, the 10th round of this year's World Rally Championship, is finally here and so are the drivers.

Yesterday the world's best made an appearance at Sydney's Centrepoint Tower before making their way to the Coffs Coast.

Reigning world champion Sebastien Loeb joined fellow WRC competitors Jari-Matti Latvala, Mikko Hirvonen and Petter Solberg in a promotion of the spectacular rally that will have the Jetty Foreshores and the forest roads of the Coffs Coast roaring for four days.

Latvala and Hirvonen who are driving for the Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team will have the benefit of some hometown knowledge when they're in Coffs Harbour this week.

The Ford team has secured the services of local rallying identity Bob Halpin as a local co-ordinator.

Mr Halpin, who was an organiser of the Coffs Coast Rally when Possum Bourne was ruling the gravel roads, said an email from the team's UK office was all it took to get him to offer a helping hand.

"Ford just needed somebody on the ground to help them out as they're trying to organise the operation from thousands of miles away," Mr Halpin said.

"It's about being able to identify as a local person the best way to find things such as hiring cars or organising accommodation.

"It's even down to the simplest things like letting them know where the hardware shop is if they need to buy some tools if something goes wrong."

While Mr Halpin has been busy with preparations he's quick to point out how much he wants to do during the four days of racing.

"Not a lot I hope," he said.

"If it all goes smoothly then there's not much to do."

The Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team is running seven cars this week but the skills of Hirvonen and Latvala has them as the team's two main stars.

Having such a large operation means that Halpin even has to locate the best place for the team chef to purchase groceries to help create the 400 meals that will be needed by the team.

As a former organiser of the Coffs Coast Rally, Halpin said this week was a tremendous achievement for those who helped make those events a success.

"It's the culmination of a great deal of work that was done between 1990 and 2000 by a big group of people," he said. "It's fantastic that all that hard work is coming to fruition this week."



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