Green light: Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi addresses the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Pacific Bay Resort.
Green light: Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi addresses the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce breakfast at Pacific Bay Resort.

Rally master plan unveiled

AFTER all the excitement of the launch, more detail has been revealed on how the World Rally event will play out on Coffs Coast.

Just hours after returning from South Korea, Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi addressed the Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce yesterday unveiling his vision.

He briefly showed a map of the proposed route which traverses 350 kilometres of roads through the Nambucca and Clarence Valleys with its ‘epicentre’ in Coffs Harbour.

While not given the final tick of approval yet, Mr Masi is confident it won’t be long before motor sport’s governing body FIA gives the course the final thumbs up.

“Having gone through local consultation and provided the relevant ecological and environmental reports, one thing we still have to work through is putting the proposals into the teams and FIA for consultation and feedback,” he said.

“That’s still about a month off.

“I’m pretty confident the planning will go through and hopefully that tick of approval is just a formality.”

The racing carnival from September 8-11 will also include a street circuit through Coffs – that route was still being negotiated in meetings with Council yesterday.

Mr Masi’s address highlighted the fact the 2009 event brought $16.9 million worth of direct economic benefit to the Northern Rivers region plus an “immeasurable” amount of publicity through international media.

“One thing I’m sure of is that Coffs will be the epicentre of that,” he said.

Planning for the September event is already well under way.

It was revealed yesterday the northern end of the airport had been obtained to use as a service park for the drivers and their teams.

Coffs Harbour Racing Club has been secured as an international media centre, while Opal Cove will be the administrative and corporate centre for the event.

Mr Masi said one of the biggest surprises for locals when the last event was held on the Northern Rivers was the proximity to the drivers – Coffs Coast motorists should expect to see world class rally cars pull up alongside them at the lights as they drive on main roads between race sections.

“When the WRC was held in the Northern Rivers, that was the main thing that struck them,” he said. “They were surprised to see a guy wearing a helmet take off as he was making his way to the next stage.”



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