The World Rally Championship has a new home in Australia after Events NSW and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport [CAMS] confirmed that the now biennial event will be staged in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.

The first date for the renamed Repco Rally Australia will be 3-6 September 2009, but the deal with Events NSW is for an initial five events taking the round through to 2017, with an option to extend that arrangement for a further five events.

"Events NSW is delighted to have secured this event for regional New South Wales," CEO Geoff Parmenter commented, "Rally Australia had previously been held in Perth, and we understand that three other states were eager to host it this time around.

"Hosting the World Rally Championship - the highest profile four-wheeled motorsport championship after Formula One - on a regular basis in regional New South Wales will drive tourism, create jobs and deliver major economic benefits to the community.

"The World Rally Championship will generate more than $100 million of direct economic benefit for New South Wales over the life of the agreement, and the event provides a unique platform to showcase Northern New South Wales to the world. Last year, more than 816 million people in 180 countries watched the WRC, with around 51 million viewers per round.

"Tourism New South Wales, in collaboration with the New South Wales tourism industry, will develop rally packages in national and international markets to maximise tourism traffic to New South Wales, [and] there are also many more opportunities in the off-year to hold motorsport and business events in New South Wales, cementing the economic impact of this deal."

The majority of competitive stages will take place in the Tweed and Kyogle Shires, which have enthusiastically welcomed the event to their area.

"The event would boost the local economy and showcase the Tweed as a tourism destination to a worldwide television audience," said Shire Council general manager Mike Rayner, while Kyogle mayor Ernie Bennett is equally confident that Repco Rally Australia will be a major boost to his community.

"In 2005, Kyogle lost a large number of local jobs and we see this event as providing an opportunity to return to more stable employment base, retain young people in the area and attract additional business and industry," he explained, "Our community will take great pride in, not only being able to be part of this event, but also seeing our area transmitted to the rest of the world.

"The council looks forward to working with the promoters who have a proven track record as an outstanding organisation and are looking to provide strong relationships with the community including considering the effects on the environment and ensuring energy use and waste generation are minimised."

There are provisionally 16 stages planned for the Kyogle, Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby areas, while the series' major teams are expected to take part in significant promotional activities in Sydney itself amid plans to kick-off a week of rally-related events.

The announcement of the partnership with Events NSW, and the new home for the rally, has been welcomed by naming rights sponsor Repco.

"Repco's involvement with motorsport dates back to our partnership with Sir Jack Brabham as he conquered the Formula One world championship," explained GM Colin Daly, "More recently, our sponsorship of World Rally Championship events in New Zealand and Australia fits perfectly alongside our core business as Australasia's preferred supplier of vehicle parts, solutions and accessories.

"We are delighted that New South Wales will significantly contribute to the success of Repco Rally Australia 2009. We look forward to working with Events New South Wales and the Repco Rally Australia 2009 team to create an exciting and memorable event that will showcase New South Wales, Australia and Repco to the international motorsports community."