A major upgrade of the route for Kennards Hire Rally Australia will deliver new thrills for spectators and even greater challenges for drivers when the FIA World Rally Championship returns for its 2018 finale on the Coffs Coast in November.
All but 8 of the 24 competition stages are new or changed, while a highlight will be a higher, longer jump on the rally-closing Wedding Bells Power Stage before a podium ceremony at the biggest forest spectator point.
Tickets to the WRC Rally Australia on 15-18 November are on sale now. Comprehensive information for ticket buyers can be viewed on the event website rallyaustralia.com.au.
The world’s fastest rally cars and drivers, including five-time champion Sébastien Ogier, last year’s Australia winner and current championship winner Thierry Neuville, Finnish star Jari-Matti Latvala and Mads Østberg of Norway, promise a heart-stopping display of high-speed action on forestry and rural roads near the Coffs Harbour event base.
“Kennards Hire Rally Australia will be the biggest rally event of the year in this part of the world and the climax to one of the most exciting world championship seasons in recent seasons,” event Chairman Ben Rainsford said.
“Series leader Thierry Neuville and his nearest rival Sébastien Ogier are going to battle all the way to the last stage in Australia. We couldn’t be more excited about the contest to come and the new route our sporting organisers have devised to test men and machines to the limits.
Highlights of the most heavily-revised Rally Australia in years will include:
- The traditional Ceremonial Start and Rally Show on Thursday afternoon 15 November will be in a new waterside location near the iconic Coffs Harbour Jetty. Free entry.
- The Destination New South Wales Super Special Stage will return on Friday and Saturday nights on the same 1.27 km course beside Coffs Harbour, but drivers will face new obstacles in the form of two jumps and a water splash.
- 16 daytime stages will be new, using different roads or sections of former roads in reverse direction.
- Wedding Bells18, the last stage of the rally and the WRC season, will be run in reverse with a longer, higher jump at the popular Forests NSW Rally Village.
- The podium presentation ceremony will be moved to the Forests NSW Rally Village from its former Coffs Harbour CBD venue.
- The longest stage will be the 28.84 km Argents Hill Reverse on Saturday, using more than half the roads of the former Nambucca stage, regarded as one of the WRC’s most challenging.
- Saturday’s 1.97 km Raleigh stage will be run twice for the first time, offering spectators close-up, elevated views of the action and easy highway access from Coffs Harbour. This is the best spectator area to bring the kids and spend the day.
- Rally Central will be the new name for the busy competitors’ service hub at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium. As well as chances to see drivers and cars up close, Rally Central will be the place to get food, drink and souvenirs and enjoy many entertainment attractions. Free entry.