World rally decision imminent
COFFS Harbour remains the preferred destination to host the Australian leg of the 2011 World Rally Championships.
And today is D-Day as Tweed/Kyogle Shires launch a last-ditch attempt to keep the world championship event.
The Federation Internationale l’Automobile (FIA) will announce next year’s rally schedule at a meeting in Paris tonight.
Rally Australia chairman Alan Evans has confirmed contingency plans are in place for the a relocation of the event to the Mid North Coast.
“Coffs Harbour would be our preferred option for the rally if we can’t run it through the Northern Rivers,” Mr Evans said.
“We’ve been looking at other options. We need somewhere where we can have at least 300 kilometres of tracks, set up service parks and that can handle the appropriate accommodation.
“Coffs Harbour certainly meets the criteria.”
Mr Evans has been in discussions with Coffs Harbour Council over the possibility of picking up the multi-million dollar event.
He said anti-rally campaigners in the Tweed had written to manufacturers and sponsors threatening boycotts, saying that up to 75 per cent of the Kyogle community doesn’t want the event to return.
It’s believed the NSW Premier’s department has also been made aware of the proposal to shift the race to Coffs Harbour, should it be endorsed by the sports world organising body.
Coffs Harbour’s own ‘Mr Rally’ Martin Quinn said he was quietly optimistic that the powers to be, may support the move to Coffs Harbour.
“We are expecting an announcement on Wednesday afternoon, it’s an exciting thing for Coffs Harbour to be in the running for an international event of World Championship status, but a lot can happen between then and now,” he said.
The Tweed Shire Council has told Rally Australia it wants better consultation on proposed routes if the next World Rally goes ahead in the area next year. At the same time, Coffs Harbour Council has pitched a concerted and well organised bid in the hope of landing the WRC event next September.