Extra night shootout for Rally Queensland

The Sunshine Coast will get a double dose of world-class motorsport on its doorstep when the annual International Rally of Queensland returns with an expanded program in May.

Up to 80 competitors from countries including Japan, China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Britain and New Zealand, as well as Australia are expected to enter the rally, which will feature the Caloundra Rally Shootout presented by Hella and Caloundra RSL Services Club over two nights instead of one in response to popular demand.

The Shootout, run under lights over a 2.3 kilometre temporary street course, will be a highlight of the 13-15 May rally, Queensland’s only international motorsport event.

Tickets for all spectator venues are on sale now at rallyqueensland.com.au, with adult general admission prices from $15 and discounts of up to 30 percent for internet purchases before 9 May.

Spectators will be able to see the cars in action from safe, dedicated viewing points at the Caloundra Rally Shootout and Mary Valley Forestry Stages.

Tickets to the Caloundra Rally Shootout Party Deck hospitality suite, hosted by Caloundra Chamber of Commerce, are available for $135, a $14 reduction over last year’s price.

The rally will host rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Bosch Australian Rally Championship, plus support categories including the highly-popular Classic Rally Series.

It will feature several high-profile international drivers, including Australians Chris Atkinson and four-time Asia Pacific champion Cody Crocker – going head-to-head for the first time in several years – defending champion Katsu Taguchi from Japan, Guarav Gill (India), Alister McRae (Britain) and Rifat Sungkar (Indonesia).

Event Director Errol Bailey said the rally program had been refined to make it even more fan-friendly, especially with the addition of a second night of the Caloundra Rally Shootout at the Sunshine Coast Industrial Park, less than 10 minutes’ drive from the centre of town.

“The inaugural Shootout on the Friday night last year was a huge success, with a crowd of several thousand people cheering the spectacular displays of skill by world-class drivers,” he said.

“The atmosphere under lights was brilliant and many people not only asked us to hold it again this year but also suggested a second night.

“So that’s what we have done and to give spectators even more reason to return on Saturday we’ll shortly be announcing an extra on-track attraction.”

The rally also will return to its popular stop-overs in the Kenilworth main street on Saturday morning and at Cooroy public library in the afternoon, while the traditional Mary Valley Forestry Stages and Hella Service Park and official finish at Imbil Showgrounds promise non-stop action and entertainment all day Saturday and Sunday.

“It’s a great package of entertainment suitable for all the family, with plenty of exciting action to see and inexpensive ticket prices across the weekend. Food, drinks and other facilities will be available at every venue,” Mr Bailey said.

“By taking the rally route to several points on the Sunshine Coast and in the Gympie Cooloola region, we also want to highlight that spectating is one of many things visitors can do during a weekend. There are plentiful natural and man-made attractions from the beaches to the mountains, rivers and lakes, to the dozens of charming villages and the sophistication of coastal resorts.

“We are encouraging the regional tourism industry to leverage these opportunities presented by the rally to attract direct benefits from visitors over the weekend and to promote for the future through our extensive international television and domestic media coverage.”

The Asia Pacific Championship starts in Johor, Malaysia, on 1-3 April. Australia is round two and further events will follow in New Caledonia, New Zealand, Japan and China.

Leading cars and crews in the International Rally of Queensland will be based at rally headquarters, Rydges Oasis Resort at Caloundra.