Former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen and the Brazil World Rally Team have both confirmed their presence on next month's Rally Australia – an event that has been billed as the 'Ultimate Dust-Up Down Under'.
There had been speculation that Raikkonen and his ICE 1 Racing Team-prepared Citroën DS3 WRC would not make the trip out to New South Wales' Coffs Coast to participate in the tenth leg of the 2011 World Rally Championship from 8-11 September in its new venue. The Finn has not competed in the country since the 2009 Australian Grand Prix around Melbourne's Albert Park, a race he failed to finish after suffering differential failure.
Meanwhile, the privateer Brazil World Rally Team will fly the flag for the iconic MINI brand on the event, with Daniel Oliveira behind the wheel of the MINI John Cooper Works WRC as part of his three-year driver development programme alongside Portuguese navigator Carlos Magalhaes.
The official Prodrive-run MINI effort is limiting itself to European rounds for its debut WRC campaign, but the David Richards-led operation will nonetheless provide operational and technical support for the Brazil World Rally Team. Rally Australia general manager Michael Masi contends that it will be an event not to be missed.
“The WRC is a dazzling spectacle played out in 13 locations around the globe,” he enthused. “This will be the 21st Rally Australia, but the first time people will be able to see it in this beautiful part of New South Wales. It will be an opportunity for spectators of all kinds to witness the skills of these spectacular drivers and experience all the exciting atmosphere of a world championship contest.
“They're the gravel masters, riding their turbocharged machines from rest to 100km/h in three seconds, racing through the forests at more than 160km/h, jumping and sliding at impossible speeds. Spectators won't have seen anything like it – it's a stunning, unforgettable experience.”