Subaru's Chris Atkinson believes that New South Wales will be a great location for the new biennial Repco Rally Australia, which will take place for the very first time next September.

Speaking following Wednesday's announcement by Events NSW and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport [CAMS], Atkinson added that the Northern Rivers region has a lot to offer.

"As an Australian I'm extremely excited about competing at Repco Rally Australia 2009," Atkinson noted. "From a competitors' point-of-view they have chosen a region that offers really outstanding rally roads and the very best infrastructure for all the teams.

"From a fan and sponsor point-of-view, it really is going to be excellent with all the action of the rally plus first class tourist facilities.

"I give it everything at all the World Rally Championship rounds, but maybe with all the local support at Repco Rally Australia 2009 I could be looking at the top step of the podium."

BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Mikko Hirvonen, the last man to win the Rally Australia in 2006, when it was based in Perth, is also looking forward to returning to the country in 2009 and he will be out to defend his Australian crown.

"All rallies offer a different challenge and I'm sure Repco Rally Australia 2009 will bring out the best in all the teams," added the Finn.

"The welcoming nature of Australians has always impressed me and I'm sure the new Repco Rally Australia 2009 will further underline that.

"The opportunity to also spend some time in Sydney is sure to be a highlight. I am sure that those who attend and follow the rally will be rewarded with a great, great event."