The stars of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and Kennards Hire Rally Australia have joined forces to support towns affected by the devastating New South Wales bushfires.
Together, the world rally community are striving to raise thousands of dollars through a number of support initiatives launched following the announcement of the WRC and CAMS Australian Rally Championship season finale’s cancellation.
The campaign to assist the bushfire victims and emergency workers began earlier this week with WRC stars autographing hundreds of unsold souvenirs, which in turn will be donated and auctioned on-line.
Some of the drivers on hand to donate the merchandise was 2019 runner-up Thierry Neuville, as well as Kris Meeke, Jari-Matti Latvala and co-drivers Nicolas Gilsoul and Miikka Anttila.
Newly crowned world champion Ott Tänak, six-time world champion Sébastien Ogier and Esapekka Lappi attended a thank-you function for hundreds of volunteer rally officials – where Ogier announced he would pledge 10,000 euros to care for injured wildlife.
Rally Australia also presented the Red Cross with a donation cheque for $11,000, along with Dave Munro, owner of four McDonald’s within the region, who himself pledged to match donations made on this weekend’s McHappy Day on Saturday.
With drivers Elfyn Evans, Craig Breen and Teemu Suninen also giving their support, CAMS President Andrew Papadopoulos was thrilled with the rally community’s response to the natural disaster.
“Drivers, team members and other international visitors were deeply affected by their experience here this week,” Papadopoulos said.
“They all expressed their desire to help the Coffs Coast community that has welcomed the World Rally Championship since 2011.
“Many Australian competitors have also contributed by pledging their entry fee refunds.”
There will still be lots of activations taking place over the course of the weekend when Rally Australia was supposed to take place with more thank you lunches for 300 emergency services workers and affected residents taking place on Friday and Sunday.