Mission to help Coffs rev up
RECONNAISSANCE, or recce as it is called in the rally world, is the best way for drivers to study the roads they will drive.
For Coffs Harbour Member Andrew Fraser - a self-confessed rally nut and a Confederation of Australian Motorsports official for more than 40 years - his recent recce has involved a self-funded European holiday, taking in the Rally of Finland to see how the Coffs Coast can better host Coates Hire Rally Australia.
The Coffs Coast will again become the focus of the rally world next month and Mr Fraser says key to the event's growth is attracting broader motorsport fans to the region on September 10-13.
Mr Fraser said the Finnish experience was a great opportunity to reaffirm relationships with key WRC and Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile officials while talking to rally teams and manufacturers and drafting his own rally notes on what the Coffs Coast can do to better engage fans.
"We have secured a round of the World Rally Championships for the Coffs Coast in 2016 and 2017 and this opportunity in Finland allowed me to strengthen relationships and see how we as a community can better run and market Coates Hire Rally Australia," Mr Fraser said.
"I was thrilled to again meet with industry and rally organisation representatives and they are very excited about coming back to Australia ... the teams and drivers love the roads here.
"The rally world is looking forward to Rally Australia in six weeks' time and Coffs Harbour needs to have the rally here permanently on an economic basis."
Mr Fraser says Rally Australia has continued its push on the FIA for Australia to stage the last event of the season, which traditionally has been run in Wales.
"I think it would be great for tourism to encourage the drivers and teams to bring their families out with them to Rally Australia as the final event of the calendar and then enjoy an extended break here in Australia," he said.
"If it did happen, and by no means is it certain yet, it would mean Rally Australia would then host the annual presentation of the World Rally Championships.
"From business and economic perspectives, we are thrilled that live crosses from Rally Australia will be beamed from the rally into Europe.
"I've learnt a lot from the Rally of Finland and I will be passing on this information to local organisers to help us stage a bigger and better event year in, year out."
RALLY AUSTRALIA - Coffs Coast, September 10-13
- Day one, Friday, September 11 - three new stages, Utungun, Bakers Creek and Northbank, in the Taylors Arm area - home to the famous Pub With No Beer, west of Macksville.
- Day two, Saturday, September 12 - 50km Nambucca Special Stage that drivers called one of the best routes in the world.
- Saturday night - Rally Australia's first ever night super special stage at Valla from 6pm.
- Day three, Sunday morning - A 6.5km extension to the popular Newry 'forest stage' and the addition of the new 6.1km Settles Rd stage
Wedding Bells to serve as the event closing WRC power stage broadcast live to a television audience of more than 46 million viewers.
In total, 17 special stages over 309km of roads.
The service park returns to C.ex Coffs Stadium.
Tickets on sale from $53, offering dedicated viewing at 10 locations through NRMAtix or on the Coates Hire Rally Australia website. Entry is free to the Coates Hire Rally Show and ceremonial start on Thursday afternoon, September 10, the service park all weekend and the official podium finish on Sunday.