Flood impact won’t slow International Rally of Queensland

Organisation of the International Rally of Queensland is continuing without interruption despite recent flooding in forestry areas of the Mary Valley, north of Brisbane, which are scheduled to be used as competition stages on the 13-15 May event.

The rally will be one of the country’s biggest international motorsport events in 2011, expected to attract competitors from Malaysia, Britain, Japan, India, New Zealand, Indonesia and New Caledonia, as well as from around Australia.

The floods, part of the record inundation of Queensland over recent weeks, affected the township of Imbil, where the rally service park will be located, plus the Sunshine Coast centres of Cooroy and Kenilworth, which will host rally stop-overs.

The waters have receded and clean-up operations are under way.

Rally officials will survey the roads as soon as possible, but expect there will be manageable impact on the quality of stages for the rounds of the 2011 FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and Australian Rally Championship.

“We have had many enquiries since news of the Queensland floods was seen around the world, but although the general rally area did have significant floods it is hundreds of kilometres away from the very worst inundations in places such as Brisbane, Toowoomba and Rockhampton,” Event Director and Clerk of Course Errol Bailey said.

“I can confidently assure competitors, spectators and the host communities that the 2011 International Rally of Queensland will be as exciting as ever.

“We always seek to use weather-proof roads whereever available and this year our provisional competition route includes more of these. While we don’t yet know the condition of the roads since the flood, they will either dry out before May or we’ll be able to find alternatives to ensure a full-distance international event.

“We are now doubly determined to make this a special event since Imbil and the Gympie region – like much of Queensland – have taken a hit with the floods and the Sunshine Coast, where we are headquartered, has had its summer tourist season decimated.

“The International Rally of Queensland will spread the message that the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions are ready and eager to welcome visitors.

“Not only will it bring competitors, crews, supporters, officials and spectators to boost the local economy, but it also will showcase to millions of people through dedicated international television coverage the beautiful beaches, mountains, rivers and many other natural attractions that are the backdrop for the rally.

“The Sunshine Coast, Imbil and surrounding districts have hosted the rally since 1997 and there is no better way to repay that loyalty than by staging a cracker 2011 event when they need it most.”

The International Rally of Queensland is benefiting from Significant Regional Event Scheme (SRES) funding under the Events Queensland Regional Development Program (EQRDP).

The EQRDP 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 EQRDP began in 2001, more than $15.3 million has been invested in 705 regional events, an indicator of the important role these events play in their communities and wider Queensland.

IROQ also is supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council.