Australia countdown: rally rewind 2014
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The new stages of Utungun, Bakers Creek (pictured below) and Northbank, south of the event’s Coffs Harbour base, open the action at the 10th round of the FIA World Rally Championship on Friday morning and will be repeated in the afternoon.
“They are fast, technical, set in magnificent countryside and truly some of the best roads in the rally world,” said clerk of the course Adrian Stafford.
The rally is based on Australia’s east coast in New South Wales, more than 500km north of Sydney. The stages are split between the Coffs Coast state rainforests and open farmland, with many of the country shire roads lined by trees, which leave no margin for error.
After Thursday evening’s Coffs Harbour start, two passes through the mostly familiar Newry Long test add to the new roads to complete Friday’s 125.12km of competition.
Saturday features two passes through the marathon 50.80km Nambucca, one of the longest and most difficult stages of the season. The 7.94km Valla is also driven twice, the second occasion in darkness, to complete the longest day of the event. The first pass will be screened live on global TV.
Five more tests north of Coffs Harbour on Sunday complete the itinerary, including two more live TV stages in Wedding Bells. The second pass forms the Power Stage with bonus points for the fastest three drivers.
The 17 stages cover 311.36km in a route of 1023.70km.