The organisers of Rally Australia are engaged in discussions with a view to securing a full-time return for the event on the annual World Rally Championship (WRC) calendar from 2012, it has been revealed.
Representatives from both Rally Australia and CAMS (the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) met FIA President Jean Todt whilst the Frenchman was visiting the country this week, informing him that the event benefits from the unequivocal support of all key stakeholders, including major parties contesting the forthcoming New South Wales state election and local governments on the Coffs Coast, to which it will relocate this year.
Talks are planned to be held with a number of organisations before the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) convenes to vote on the 2012 WRC calendar at the end of March, and even though the event is not on the draft schedule for next season, Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford is confident a solution can be reached.
“Speculation about the 2012 WRC calendar is certainly premature, with the World Motor Sport Council having deferred its decision until the end of this month,” he underlined. “While planning for the 2011 Rally Australia on 8-11 September is progressing rapidly, we are also in active negotiations about 2012 and an annual place on the WRC calendar.
“Rally Australia's move to a new home on the Coffs Coast of New South Wales has received an overwhelming welcome from the local population, businesses and authorities. Combine this with the fact that the Coffs Coast is one of the traditional homes of Australian rallying and has hosted successful international events already, and we are assured of staging a sporting spectacle that more than justifies our place on the WRC calendar into the future.
“Rally Australia ran every year in Western Australia between 1988 and 2006 and was hugely successful. We now need the continuity of an annual event in 2012 and beyond to capitalise on the greater opportunities available in our new East Coast home to grow the event and the WRC's following in this region of the world.”