THE largest ever event to hit the Coffs Coast has caused a mass of excitement and lived up to all expectations.

A massive crowd this afternoon swamped the City Centre to herald the arrival of the Rally Australia World Rally Championship round to town. For the world's leading drivers it was an uplifting and at times deafening welcome.

Seven-time world champion Sebastien Loeb and Ford rival, Briton Matthew Wilson, have praised the Coffs Coast and its potential to become a regular fixture on the WRC calendar.

"The stages are very fast, but it all depends on what sort of weather we get in the coming days. Overall its great to be back in Australia the whole thing here is interesting," Loeb said.

Wilson said the drivers had received one of the most memorable receptions of the championships.

"The rally has taken over, when was the last place you got off the plane at an airport for a WRC round and saw a rally car parked alongside the runway," Wilson said.

"The organisers are doing a great job with the promotion of the event."

"Wherever you go around here, the event is just massive."

Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said it best: "These are the best rally roads in Australia, the best spot for a rally is Coffs Harbour and the community wants it back in 2013."



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