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There is but a week to go until the 2017 CAMS Australian Rally Championship fires up with the Eureka Rally in Ballarat, Victoria, from March 17th - 19th.

Brad Markovic at last year's Lightforce Rally SA. (Photo: Peter Whitten)Absence must make the heart grow fonder with the biggest ARC field in two years set to partake in the Eureka Rally after a 46 year absence from the historic and beautiful town of Ballarat.

Ahead of the Eureka Rally, the ARC has once again secured the services of Neil Crompton's AirTime Media to produce a TV package for the championship. The 2017 ARC season will be covered on Foxtel and free-to-air (FTA) with Channel 10.

Michael Smith, General Manager of CAMS Motor Sport - Events, said: "The TV deal will see the ARC on your screens with a professionally produced event package after the rounds. AirTime Media will dovetail with our own media team to offer the best all round coverage across multiple channels: TV, the Rally.com.au website, YouTube and Social Media.”

ARC TV host Chad Neylon added: "I can't wait to work with the CAMS Australian Rally Championship and help show how remarkable this sport is. The next generation of stars have well and truly arrived and we hope to match the youth of the ARC with a sleek, modern broadcast. We’re looking forward to coming to Ballarat to uncork what promises to be another close season of racing."

For event sponsors “Visit Ballarat” CEO Noel Dempsey, the event is a chance to showcase everything that is great about the historic and beautiful regional city of Ballarat:

“The Eureka Rally adds to Ballarat’s already-intense sporting calendar and we’re thrilled to welcome the event back to our city after four decades.

“The rally is sure to attract sporting enthusiasts and world-class talent from Victoria and beyond, cementing our position as a city that hosts high-calibre sporting events. It’s great for the tourism economy and it’s great for the overall health of our community.”

In 2017 Madras Rubber Factory (MRF) is welcomed to the Australian gravel fray as official tyre supplier. For Vivek Ponnusamy, CEO of Mentor Tyres, the Australian importer for MRF Tyres, the series offers the opportunity continue MRF’s fine rally tradition:

“MRF is passionate about motorsports and has been associated with all forms of motorsports for over five decades. One of the main advantage of MRF Tyres is their longevity and durability, which is what Australian rally drivers always specifically request and we answer that need.

“MRF Tyres has won eight Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) titles including the 2015 and 2016 championship with the MRF-Skoda APRC team. The MRF Tyres were developed and used by drivers like Chris Atkinson, Pontus Tidemand, Mark Pedder, Jan Kopecky, and Gaurav Gill in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC).”

The creation of MRF Tyres Rally Development Fund for 2017 has supported and subsidised the cost of ARC registration with registration fees 50% lower than in 2016 .

“We are always looking to reduce the cost for the competitors. To make this idea a reality we founded the MRF Tyres Development fund to support the rallying community in Australia,” Vivek Ponnusamy said.

“We also kept the cost of tyres the same from last year for the next two years. This will also reduce the cost for the competitors.”

With record entries for round one and more sponsor announcements to come, the 2017 Australian Rally Championship is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory.

The Eureka Rally kicks off with a ceremonial start on Friday the 17th of March at 5:00pm in Ballarat’s Bridge Mall. The crews are then set to hit the forests in anger on Saturday morning, with 220km of special stages across the weekend.

- Series press release

Eureka Rally facts:

  • The Rally Guide contains all of the pertinent information for competitors. Available for download here.
  • The Spectator Guide covers off the best and safest spots to see all the action of the Eureka Rally. Available for download here.
  • First Australian Championship Rally event based out of Ballarat in 46 years.
  • Rally Headquarters and Service Park are based in Victoria Park, Ballarat.
  • Drivers and co drivers will navigate all of the stages on Thursday the 16th March at road legal speeds in road cars to analyse each stage and write their all-important pace notes.
  • VIP rides will be held at Ballarat Airport on Friday the 17th March at Ballarat Airport.
  • The ceremonial start will be held in Bridge Mall, Ballarat with the first car off at 5:30pm.
  • Heat 1 (Saturday) will include around 117kms of competitive stages across 10 stages held to the east of the Ballan/Daylesford Rd. The stage names include: Mt Hope, Paradise, Blackwood Ridge, Wild Dog and Korweinguboora.
  • Heat 2 (Sunday) totals 96 competitive kilometres across 8 stages to be held north east and south of Ballarat. Sundays stage names include: White Swan, Moorabool, Enfield and Ross Creek.
  • The winners will be crowned on Sunday afternoon at the Service Park in Victoria Park, Ballarat.
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