IT'S official. Rally Australia on the Coffs Coast has attracted the best of the best.

The first international entry has come in and it was lodged by the Citroen Total World Rally Team, confirming seven-time champion Sebastien Loeb and teammate Sebastien Ogier will be in action when the World Rally Championship (WRC) comes to Coffs Coast from September 8 to 11.

Rally organisers received the Citroen entry and expect all major teams to follow before the closing deadline on August 1.

Although Citroen's entry is a formality, since it enters all rounds of the 13-country WRC tour, it is another milestone in the countdown to the Coffs Coast hosting the biggest global motorsport championship after Formula 1.

Loeb is currently leading this year's series after seven rounds while Ogier isn't far behind in third place.

Rally Australia's sporting chief, Clerk of Course Dr Michelle Gatton, said entries also were flowing in from Australian privateers for Rally Australia and for two companion events, the Coffs Coast Forest Rally – a round of the Bosch Australian Rally Championship – and the Coffs Coast Classic Rally.

Entries for the companion events close on August 18 and August 10 respectively and Dr Gatton said she expected the final total field would comprise around 100 cars from overseas and Australia.

Canberra driver Adrian Coppin is the first confirmed Australian entry, in a Ford Fiesta.

“Rally Australia spectators are in for a thrilling experience on the Coffs Coast,” Dr Gatton said.

“The WRC cars compete at high speed in the most challenging conditions and the skill of the drivers, guided by their co-drivers, is simply breathtaking, unlike anything you would see on a circuit event.

“It's particularly exciting that we're going to see the genius of Sebastien Loeb in action.

“He's the most successful driver in the history of the WRC with 65 wins, seven driver's championships and the current points lead in his chase for an incredible eighth consecutive title.

“Sebastien Ogier is only in his first season with the Factory Citroen team but already a winner and he'll be aiming to beat his teammate in Australia as well as the Ford stars such as Mikko Hirvonen and Jari-Matti Latvala.”


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