Exciting new layout announced for rally's showcase stages
THE Destination New South Wales Super Special Stage, the fans' favourite at Kennards Hire Rally Australia, will return at next November's event on the Coffs Coast with an exciting new course layout, more spectating areas and a Thursday night start.
Changes to the Super Special Stage, which attracts big crowds to its unique setting between Coffs Harbour and the Tasman Sea, mean the itinerary for the season final of the FIA World Rally Championship will extend over four days instead of three, from Thursday, November 14 to Sunday, November 17.
The field of up to 80 WRC and Australian cars will take to the 1.33 kilometre Super Special Stage on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Saturday has now been reserved for a special entertainment attraction at the Pedders Rally Central service park, to be announced shortly.
Extended by 600 metres, the new stage layout includes, as before, sections of Jordan Esplanade beside Coffs Harbour and the oceanside Gallows Beach car park and adds the new dimension of running in both directions around the hilltop former deep sea fishing club.
A water splash returns in the lower section of the stage and the jump beside Gallows Beach is back - but will be taken in two directions on each car's run.
A holding compound before the start line will allow spectators to see all WRC cars assembled before their runs.
The new course layout has allowed the spectator area in front of the fishing club to be extended and the addition of a new area beside the beachside jump.
The former cross-track bridge has been removed, promising easier spectator movement.
"Adding the loop around the fishing club, re-locating the start and finish lines in front of the main spectator area, adding spectator and car-holding areas and running the cars in both directions over most of the stage will create a completely new challenge for drivers and a bigger spectacle for fans," Clerk of the Course Wayne Kenny said.
"In particular, the curved section of road where the cars race downhill at speed from the fishing club and past the corporate hospitality and general admission spectating areas promises action like we've never seen before at the Super Special Stage.
"Because of its near-city location, unique scenic setting, compact venue, excellent spectator viewing and twilight timing, the Destination New South Wales Super Special Stage has always been the most popular stage of the rally.
"The latest changes mean it will be simply sensational in 2019."
The Thursday evening Destination NSW Super Special Stage will be preceded by Rally Australia's traditional Rally Show and Ceremonial Start, which will be attended by all competitors and their cars.
The free event has been re-located closer to the ticket gates for the Super Special Stage.
Ticket prices for the Destination NSW Super Special Stage and other spectating stages will be announced soon.
Rally Australia is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
Minister for Tourism Stuart Ayres said the popular Coffs Coast event was an important attraction for the region.
"It is exciting to see the Destination NSW Super Special Stage kick off the weekend's racing and the Kennards Hire Rally Australia extended in 2019 giving spectators even more action on the track and building the event into a four-day spectacle," Minister Ayres said.
"We invite visitors to make the most of their longer stay in the region by exploring Coffs Harbour, or taking in the spectacular coastline, rainforests and waterfalls of the area."
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the Kennards Hire Rally Australia continued to enrich the sporting and events culture of the region.
"Coffs Harbour is a diverse and thriving community, largely thanks to the tourism industry and the many major events we are proud to host including the rally," Mr Singh said.