BP Ford Abu Dhabi's Malcolm Wilson and Subaru's David Richards have both welcomed the news that the World Rally Championship will return to Australia in 2009.

Events New South Wales and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport confirmed on Wednesday that Australia's round of the WRC will be staged in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires every second year from 2009 to 2017.

The announcement has been greeted warmly by both Wilson and Richards, who each steer the direction of two of rallying's longest running and most successful teams.

"It is fantastic that the World Rally Championship is returning to Australia in 2009 and great news that the rally will be based in Northern NSW," said Wilson. "Australia has always been a firm favourite in the World Rally Championship with both the drivers and the team.

"The Australian welcome is legendary and the organising team have always been pioneers in bringing the show to the people.

"Rally Australia has always been synonymous with a professionally run event on challenging special stages and the information that we have is that the 2009 event will be no different.

"Moving the event to the east coast will expose the WRC to another new audience - giving more of the rally fans in the region the chance to see the excitement of the WRC first hand.

"As a team we all look forward to returning to Australia and helping to put the Blue Oval on top - down under."

After a two year absence from the calendar in which officials from the former Western Australia-based Rally Australia have worked diligently behind the scenes to reinstate Australia's place on the World rally stage, David Richards added that the events return is a definite plus.

"It is very pleasing to hear that the WRC is finally returning to Australia, a country that has been responsible for hosting one of the best events in the Championship for many years," Richards continued.

"Its new location on the East Coast will provide an interesting new challenge for WRC competitors, but more importantly, be far more accessible for the Australian public to come and see the cars in action.

"I am sure I am not alone in very much looking forward to returning to Australia next year."

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