Entries for the final round of the 2016 Kumho Tyres Australian Rally Championship, to be run over the same weekend and course as the world championship, close on October 27.
Clerk of Course Wayne Kenny says the final seeded entry list will feature the fastest rally drivers in the world and in Australia – and promises there will still be plenty to fight for even though the 2016 drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles were decided at last weekend’s 11th round.
“Sébastien Ogier was a clear winner, but the competition for second and third positions in the championship is still wide open, with six drivers still mathematically in contention and two rounds remaining – Great Britain later this month and then Kennards Hire Rally Australia. The manufacturers' championship also is in contention.
“WRC2 is undecided and we’ll be welcoming the factory Skoda team of Kopecky and Lappi, former Junior World Rally Champion Nicolas Fuchs from Peru and several other internationals,” Mr Kenny said.
“I’m particularly pleased to see the likes of Australians Brendan Reeves and Molly Taylor step up as WRC privateers, waving the flag for our great Australian rally-driving talent and taking the chance to test themselves against some of the best from the rest of the world.
“Brendan and Molly already have extensive international experience under their wheels, but we strongly support all Australian drivers entering their WRC home round to help their development. It’s good to see even some State competitors have taken the step."
Rally Australia driver ambassador Reeves, who has competed in the world championship as well as in the Asia-Pacific, New Zealand, United States and Australia, submitted his entry while assisting Hyundai Motorsport at WRC Rally de Espańa last weekend.
"To compete against the world’s best on our home turf is an incredible feeling,” Reeves said.
“The extra media coverage and huge support around the event is also a massive bonus for me to enter the WRC section.”
Subaru Australia driver Taylor, who has been ranked the world’s top female rally driver since 2013 is looking forward to competing at home with drivers she challenged in Europe.
“We’re doing it for the opportunity to compete within the WRC, because there are not too many chances to do that from Australia,” she said.
The showdown for the 2016 Australian title will be the closest in the competition’s history. Four-time champion Simon Evans leads the standings with 251 points, with Molly Taylor on 246 and Harry Bates on 245.
Whoever wins will have a story to tell – Evans is the country’s fastest driver but would win in the championship’s oldest car, while Taylor would be the first female champion and 21-year-old Bates the youngest.
Starting with the rally show and ceremonial start on Thursday and followed by three days of special stage competition including the Destination NSW Super Special Stage on the Coffs Harbour waterfront on Friday and Saturday, the world-class motorsport action will be non-stop until the podium celebrations in the Coffs Harbour CBD on Sunday afternoon.
Organisers are finalising 313 kilometres of Special Stages north and south of the Coffs Harbour service park. Tickets on sale from www.rallyaustralia.com.au and Ticketek.com include a limited 2-for-1 offer on Super Special Stage entry.