THE longest gravel stage in Australian rallying, almost 43 kilometres, will provide a major new challenge for competitors in the International Rally of Queensland, Australia’s round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship to be held on the Sunshine Coast later this year.
Run at the end of each day of the 31 July-1 August weekend, the new stage will put crews and cars from several countries to a test of speed and endurance that could make or break a winning effort on Australia’s only international championship rally in 2010.
The International Rally of Queensland will feature round four of seven in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and round five of six in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC), plus rounds of the Pacific Cup, Queensland Rally Championship and Australian Classic Rally Car Series.
Headquarters and around 70 competing teams will be based on the Sunshine Coast, about 100 kms north of Brisbane, with closed-road forestry stages near the township of Imbil in the northern hinterland of the beach holiday strip.
While typical rally stages are between five kms and 25 kms, the International Rally of Queensland would offer competitors four stages of at least 35 kms, Event Director Errol Bailey said.
“We were encouraged by the national championship organisers to bring back some longer distances and make endurance as well as speed part of the challenge,” Mr Bailey said.
“At 42.6 kms, the end-of-day stage will be almost twice as long as the longest stage in the recent World Rally Championship event in New South Wales, Repco Rally Australia.
“It will demand the utmost of driver, co-driver and car and offer the most potential to either move up the order or throw it all away with a fatigue-induced error or mechanical failure.
“The total event competitive distance also will be more than 320 kms, compared to less than 230 kms this year, making the International Rally of Queensland a truly world-class test and a greater spectacle for the public.”
The final event schedule including the new stages will be submitted early next year for approval by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) in Paris and the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS).
Joining China, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia and New Caledonia in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the International Rally of Queensland provides a valuable boost to the local economy through visitor spending, plus promotion of the Sunshine Coast’s tourist attractions via dedicated international television programming and other media coverage.
In Australia, the International Rally of Queensland will receive a total of four hours’ dedicated national television coverage on Network Ten and One HD.
The event will be supported as a Significant Regional Event under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP) and by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and commercial sponsors.
Drivers and co-drivers representing China, India, Japan, Singapore, Great Britain, New Zealand, New Caledonia and Australia contested the 2008 Rally Queensland.
The International Rally of Queensland is benefiting from Significant Regional Event Scheme (SRES) funding under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP).
The QERDP is an investment program designed to extend the flow of economic and social benefits of events to regional Queensland. The SRES celebrates and supports those events that have a particularly strong track record of growth and economic success for their region.
A state-wide initiative, the program is committed to enhancing existing events in regional Queensland, as well as assisting in the establishment of new events.
Since the QERDP began in 2001, more than $13.6 million has been invested in 645 regional events, an indicator of the important role these events play in their communities and wider Queensland.
Photos by Alan MacDonald
For further information, contact:
Phone: (0418) 759 417