24 April 2015
WRC Rally Australia: Route confirmed, proper night stage added
Rally Australia reveals itinerary for 2015 event
Rally Australia intends to include a “traditional” night stage for the very first time this year, as well as all-new stages on the opening day.
The proposed route for round ten in the 2015 World Rally Championship, which runs from September 10-13, is subject to official approval, but currently offers similar overall competitive and liaison distances totalling 922 kilometres, but with a longer day on Saturday and shorter on Sunday to allow a midday start for the rally-ending, globally-televised Power Stage, Wedding Bells.
“The World Rally Championship is the most exciting form of motor sport, whether from behind the steering wheel or watching on the sidelines, and we have planned the 24th Rally Australia to be a truly world-class challenge,” said the event's sporting director, Clerk of Course Adrian Stafford.
Stafford is also confident that the three new stages on Friday, to be run twice to make up the first leg, are the best yet on the east coast event.
Located around 80 kms south of rally headquarters at Coffs Harbour's Opal Cove Resort, the stages are in the same region as last year's 49km Nambucca test, voted by drivers as one of the WRC's best.
“Nambucca remains in the itinerary on Saturday, but the new stages of Utungun, Bakers Creek and Northbank although shorter will be an even bigger test for drivers - they're going to love them! They are fast, technical, set in magnificent countryside and truly some of the best roads in the rally world,” Stafford added.
A bonus for Friday spectators will be two regroups by competitors in Taylors Arm, a little-known hamlet with the most famous pub Down Under. The Taylors Arm Hotel is better known as The Pub With No Beer after it was immortalised in a popular folk ballad by the late country singing legend Slim Dusty.
Saturday's five stages conclude with a run in darkness through the 7.94 km Valla, giving spectators a chance to experience one of the most traditional, but now rare, elements of rallying.
“We're introducing a traditional night stage instead of the usual city-based Super Special Stage to give spectators a taste of real rallying as the cars roar through the forest with their lights blazing,” Stafford explained.
“The atmosphere – and to say nothing of the challenge for drivers – will be really special. It's something Rally Australia hasn't done before and is rarely featured in major rallies anywhere in the world.
“Valla is not far south of Coffs Harbour and close to the interstate Pacific Highway, so will be easy for fans to reach yet still get back to town in time for dinner.”
Sunday's itinerary includes another new stage, Settles Road. The 6.1km sprint replaces the 30km Shipmans, which was deleted after feedback from competitors in 2014.
Wedding Bells will retain its popular Rally Village, water splash and jump.
Rally Australia will kick off officially with a rally show and traditional ceremonial start in the centre of Coffs Harbour, 540kms north of Sydney, on Thursday 10 September.
The podium finish will also be in Coffs Harbour after crews complete the Power Stage and return to the competitors' service park at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
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