The world’s best rally car drivers are on their way back to the Coffs Coast.
The world’s best rally car drivers are on their way back to the Coffs Coast. Trevor Veale

Start your engines

THE world's best rally car drivers are on their way back to the Coffs Coast.

On the weekend Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) confirmed Australia would host a round of the World Rally Championship in 2013 and Rally Australia organisers are keen to see the event return to the Coffs Coast.

"We're very keen to have the event in Coffs Harbour," Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford said.

That one line means it will take a massive backflip from organisers to see the coveted international event moved elsewhere.

"From Rally's point of view it will be great to be there," the chairman said.

"We've gone through the heartache of arriving there last year and setting up from a cold start.

"We don't wish to relocate. We loved the reception that the community gave us and we've got some good ideas for allowing all of the businesses to get more out of Rally the next time that it's there."

Last year the event was held in early September.

Mr Rainsford said Rally Australia had asked that the Coffs Coast be considered as a host of the final round of the championship next year, which will be in November.

"We've asked for it," Mr Rainsford said.

"I'm meeting with them (FIA) again this week and I would expect that inside the next 28 days we'll have a precise date.

"I appreciate that the vehicle manufacturers out of Europe would prefer the last round to be in and around Europe, but there's no harm in us asking; I mean an Australian summer is a pretty wonderful place for us to be compared to a European winter, so it's a wonderful way to end the championship."

Coffs Harbour Mayor Keith Rhoades was thrilled when he heard the news and he said plans were already being made to make next year's event better than the initial experience enjoyed by so many in September.

One of those plans is for an overhead bridge or two to be installed near the southern foreshores to ease the congestion of spectator traffic.

"You can always improve, nothing is ever perfect," Cr Rhoades said.

The Mayor said the feedback he received from the competitors themselves would have been a big reason for the Coffs Coast getting the thumbs up to host an event watched by more than 60 million viewers worldwide.

"The drivers love the conditions, they love the track; it is a challenge," Cr Rhoades said.

Mr Rainsford said news of Australia hosting another round was great news for the sport in this country but he added locals should be proud of the vote of confidence they've received from racing's international body.

"It was very much a joint effort, so it's a pat on the back for everyone associated with the event including the wider community," he said.