Rally Australia's achievement as the world's first motor sport event to earn the top environmental award from the FIA Institute has won praise from one of F1's most prominent leaders, McLaren Group CEO and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

The rally, staged in September on the New South Wales Coffs Coast, was awarded the Achievement of Excellence last week by the FIA Institute, the highest of three levels in the organisation's Environmental Certification Framework.

It became not only the first event to be awarded but also only the second organisation of any kind in the motor sport industry, after McLaren won its certification last February.

"I would like to congratulate Rally Australia on becoming only the second organisation in the world to win the prestigious FIA Institute award for environmental excellence," Whitmarsh said.

"As the inaugural winners, we at McLaren know just how rigorous the process of inspection is and just how challenging it is to meet all the environmental standards required.

"Rally Australia has shown great global leadership in achieving those standards and I would encourage other motor sport stakeholders to follow suit.

"But succeeding in that endeavour will be all about people and it's vitally important that the people who work in all forms of motor sport now spur one another on to demonstrate that it's possible to improve and optimise sustainability while also continuing to deliver high-speed, high-excitement, high-drama sporting spectacle," he added.

Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford meanwhile has thanked Whitmarsh for his comments.

"We're honoured to receive congratulations from Martin Whitmarsh on behalf of McLaren, an organisation with a magnificent history of innovation, technology and community responsibility," Rainsford continued.

"Rally Australia will now return to the Coffs Coast on 11-14 September next year, when we'll be taking every step possible to maintain and enhance our environmental performance and encouraging all our supporters and partners to do the same," he concluded.



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