Rally Australia buoyed by Coffs Harbour Council's support
NEWS of Coffs Harbour City Council's continued support for Rally Australia has made global headlines in the rally world.
Following the council's approval to sponsor the November and 2017 World Rally Championship rounds, Rally Australia says it will accelerate preparations to host its 24th FIA event.
Last night the council voted to support the 2016 and 2017 rallies, reversing a decision taken two weeks ago.
"There are now just over 200 days until Kennards Hire Rally Australia on November 17-20 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.
Last night British rally website Autosport.com reported the news to the rally faithful in Europe.
It quoted WRC manager Jarmo Mahonen and WRC Promoter chief Oliver Ciesla on the decision.
"We are told the amount of money is minimal in regard to the whole budget for the event," Mahonen told Autosport.
"This is an election year and it seems there is some politics going on.
"I can confirm that the rally takes place. It is not in danger, it will happen," he said.
Mr Rainsford said the council seeing reason in a 6-2 vote for the sponsorship agreement was a silver lining to the matter.
He said stable financial position and all-round support would assist negotiations begun recently with WRC authorities to host rounds in 2018, 2019 and 2020.