Kennards Hire Rally Australia (16-19 November) marks the climax to the 2017 FIA World Rally Championship season and, while the main WRC titles were provisionally wrapped up on the previous round in Great Britain, the battle for second position between Thierry Neuville and Ott Tänak is sure to be intense. Over 12 rounds, seven different winners have stood on the top step of the podium and Rally Australia could yet see another victor, especially from among those crews starting further down the running order and potentially benefitting from an advantageous road position on Friday. Flat-out is sure to be the approach Down Under.
Australia has hosted its round of the Championship since 1989 and between then and 2006 its home was in the west coast city of Perth. The event moved to the east and New South Wales in 2009 and two years later relocated to its current base in Coffs Harbour, mid-way between Sydney and Brisbane.
The event offers a real mix of twisty forest tracks, flowing shire roads and stages in the rainforests, which create a tricky strobe lighting effect caused by low morning and afternoon sun flickering through the trees. The dusty gravel tracks are also notoriously tough for the front-runners who are forced to sweep their way through the loose surface, providing a cleaner racing line for those behind.
THE 2017 ROUTE
In a change to the itinerary, Friday takes the crews north of Coffs Harbour for two loops of three stages, all of which have been used in different configurations previously. The day rounds off with two blasts around the super special stage set up around the harbourside. The highlight of Saturday is the 48.89 kilometre Nambucca test that kicks off the day’s action. In the afternoon the stage is split into two – Welshs Creek and Argents Hill – and with a short raceway stage and another two runs around the Coffs jetty stage, the day is the longest of the event. Three stages to the north of Coffs, two run twice, round off the competition on Sunday.
Three stages will be broadcast live; SS13 on Saturday and Sunday’s two runs through Wedding Bells, the second counting as the all-important Power Stage.
WHAT WE SAID…
“The statistics from the season so far really underline the success of the Championship and the new technical regulations,” said Jarmo Mahonen, FIA Rally Director. “All four manufacturers have won at least two events, seven different crews have stood on the top step of the podium and three of those had never taken a win in the WRC before. It has been incredible and the challenge of Rally Australia could deliver yet more.”
The Accreditation Centre is located at the Media Centre at Coffs Harbour Education Campus, Cnr Hogbin & Stadium Drive, Coffs Harbour. The opening hours are:
Tuesday 14 November
14:00 – 18:00 hrs
RALLY AUSTRALIA TIMETABLE AND MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES ORGANISED BY THE FIA
Wednesday 15 November
Thursday 16 November
Friday 17 November
Saturday 18 November
Sunday 19 November
08:00 – 11:30 hrs
FIA PRESS CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE
Thursday 16 November
Sunday 19 November
Kalle Rovanperä, FIA WRC 2 Championship
Winning FIA WRC 2 Championship crew
MANUFACTURER ENTRIES, RALLY AUSTRALIA
M-Sport World Rally Team
Citroën Total Abu Dhabi
Sébastien Ogier / Julien Ingrassia (#1)
Hayden Paddon / Sebastian Marshall (#4)
Stéphane Lefebvre / Gabin Moreau (#7)
Jari-Matti Latvala / Miikka Anttila (#10)
ADDITIONAL MEDIA OPPORTUNITIES
Autograph Signing Session: On Friday and Saturday selected crews will be available for a 15 minute autograph session. This will take place in the service park during the end of day service at the teams’ service areas.
FIA WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CLASSIFICATIONS
The provisional classifications for all the WRC Championships can be found on the following link:
Shortly after the finish of the event, a downloadable stage chart showing the progressive positions of the leading crews during the rally will be available. This is copyright free for editorial purposes and available at the following link:
WRCRally AustraliaWRCSEASON 2017SportRallies1SportWorld Rally ChampionshipRalliesWRCSEASON 2017WRCRally Australia01Friday, November 10, 2017 – 11:25amFriday, November 10, 2017 – 11:25am