Positive WRC debut for Toyota GT86
New R3 spec machine was driven as zero car in Germany
The gravel event, held in the forests on the New South Wales Coffs Coast, will welcome a full complement of factory drivers from Citroen, Hyundai, M-Sport and Volkswagen.
The biggest change in personnel comes at Hyundai where the Korean manufacturer has drafted in local heroes Chris Atkinson [pictured above] and Hayden Paddon to drive the i20 WRC that took its maiden WRC victory in the hands of Thierry Neuville at the recent ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
New Zealand’s Paddon will be continuing his seven-round programme of events with Hyundai while Atkinson will be climbing aboard the car for the first time since he finished seventh at Rally Mexico in March.
Further down the seeded entry list is a raft of drivers that will be bidding for WRC 2 success in Australia.
With only nine points separating the top-five drivers in the series standings, the race for honours is beginning to hot up with only three potential point scoring opportunities remaining.
Series leader, Lorenzo Bertelli will be trying to protect his three-point advantage in Australia but he’ll face stiff competition from Yuriy Protasov, Ott Tanak and Jari Ketomaa – all driving a mixture of R5 and RRC specification Ford Fiestas.
The battle for Rally Australia honours will be fought in some of the best forests that Australia has to offer. The Orara East, Wedding Bells and Lower Bucca State Forests – all of which host stages – have just been awarded a gold standard at the North Coast Tourism Awards.
“We have long believed that the forests of the Coffs Coast offer our visiting World Rally Championship drivers the opportunity to compete among some of the most spectacular scenery in Australia and that has now been confirmed,” event manager David Catchpole said.