THE World Rally Championship will return to the Coffs Coast next year, and Rally Australia is hoping to secure a further three years on the WRC calendar.
Larger crowds, praise from the elite drivers and an historic victory brought a successful conclusion to Coates Hire Rally Australia - Coffs Coast.
A cumulative crowd attendance of 56,028 took in the action at ticketed and unticketed stages, while the Thursday afternoon Rally Show attendance in the city centre was estimated at 3800 people.
As hundreds of FIA World Rally Championship teams, officials, media and guests packed up and headed home to Europe, organisers said the 2014 event had taken a significant step forward that would provide the basis for an even better show in 2015 and hopefully beyond.
Rally Australia confirmed negotiations are underway with the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile to host a WRC round in 2016, 2017 and 2018. A request has been made to host the final event of the calendar in November, which in recent years has been the Wales Rally of Great Britain.
Next year Coates Hire Rally Australia will be held from September 10-13.
"It was our goal to deliver the Coffs Coast an event truly worthy of its FIA World Championship status and I think we achieved that," Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford said.
"Coates Hire Rally Australia gave the teams what they wanted - a compact footprint, a good service park layout, excellent promotion, community support and attendances and, above all, a fantastic challenge for the world's best drivers.
"It was gratifying to hear on several occasions drivers including Jari-Matti Latvala, Kris Meeke, Robert Kubica and Australia's Chris Atkinson say how much they loved the roads, especially the 50km Nambucca stage on Saturday.
"Much of the success Rally Australia achieved this year was because it was an annual event for the first time since 2006.
"After running in alternate years in 2009, 2011 and 2013, being able to return in 2014 - as we will also in 2015 - has automatically delivered many benefits."
Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Andrew Stoner took in the action of Rally Australia and reaffirmed Destination NSW's funding commitment to the event.
"Events like Rally Australia provide an important boost to local communities, not only in terms of the economic benefits associated with people staying overnight and spending in local stores and cafes, but also the sense of community pride in having your region on show to the world," Mr Stoner said.
"I was lucky enough to be among the throngs of passionate motor sport fans on the Coffs Coast."