Friday | 01 May 2015

Rally Australia promises 'best-yet' stages

Organisers of Rally Australia (10-13 September) have revealed big changes to this year's event, including a night stage, a re-shuffled itinerary and three new tests they believe are the best yet.

The proposed route for the championship's 10th round offers similar competitive and liaison distances to 2014 (totalling 922 kilometres), but a longer day on Saturday and a shorter Sunday allow a midday start for the rally-ending Power Stage, Wedding Bells.

Clerk of the course Adrian Stafford is confident the three new stages are the best the east coast event has ever had. The trio, to be run twice to make up the first leg on Friday, are located in the same region as last year’s 49km Nambucca test.

“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!" Stafford said. "They are fast, technical, set in magnificent countryside and truly some of the best roads in the rally world.”

Bakers Creek is one of three new stages to be run on day one. [Picture: Peter Whitten].

Saturday’s five stages conclude with a run in darkness through the 7.94 km Valla, instead of the usual city-based Super Special Stage. “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," Stafford said.

Sunday’s itinerary includes another new stage, Settles Road. The 6.1km sprint replaces the 30km Shipmans, which was dropped after feedback from competitors in 2014.

Rally Australia will kick off with a rally show and traditional ceremonial start in the centre of Coffs Harbour, 540kms north of Sydney, on Thursday 10 September.

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