World Rally Championship drives out of Australia for 2020
AUSTRALIA will not host a round of the FIA World Rally Championship in 2020 it was confirmed in France overnight.
It's a bitter blow for Coffs Harbour, but Rally Australia expects to return from 2021 as the series implements a new policy of event rotation.
The 2020 calendar was announced today after a vote of the world motorsport governing body, the FIA, and sees three of the WRC's longest-standing events, Rally Spain, Rally France and Rally Australia, subject to the rotation policy.
Rally Australia Chairman Andrew Papadopoulos said the organisation was disappointed to miss out on 2020, but had been advised it was included on draft calendars from 2021. The rally would use next year to develop a bigger and better event.
"The new rotation policy involving Rally Australia and two other established rallies is a reflection of the fast-growing popularity of the FIA World Rally Championship and pressure on the FIA and organising company WRC Promoter GmbH to accommodate more countries in the series," Mr Papadopoulos said.
"Chile joined the championship this year and other countries are keen to join. Japan and Kenya are joining in 2020.
"We're extremely proud of Rally Australia's standing as one of the best-run WRC events over 27 years. The WRC is unquestionably one of the most exciting series in motorsport - the competition is incredibly close and the action and drama unmatched - and we'll be ready to take our place again on the world stage from 2021.
"We're also proud that Rally Australia has helped generate millions of dollars in direct economic benefit and global publicity since the event came to New South Wales in 2009.
"Rally Australia acknowledges the incredible support we've received from every part of the Coffs Coast community, which has generously welcomed the WRC.
"Meanwhile, we still have a WRC rally to stage in 47 days' time and our wonderful team of staff and officials will be working hard to ensure it's the best the Coffs Coast has seen."
The 27thAustralian WRC event, Kennards Hire Rally Australia, will be staged on the Coffs Coast on from November 14-17 and is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.