The Australian Rally Championship has announced that automotive components manufacturer Bosch has been signed as the naming rights sponsor for the 2011 Championship.

It is the first time since 2007 that the ARC has had a naming rights sponsor and marks the continuing rebirth of one of the worlds oldest rally championships, which can trace its history back 43 years.

The Bosch Australian Rally Championship will be staged over five rounds with events in Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria as well as a round staged in NSW in conjunction with the World Championship Rally Australia.

Bosch is a leading global supplier of technology and services in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology and is the world's second largest automotive parts supplier.

Bosch has global sales exceeding $50billion each year with more than 270,000 employees worldwide including1800 staff in Australia and New Zealand with its regional head office at Clayton in Victoria.

According to Scott Pedder, CEO of the ARC, the signing of Bosch is an enormous boost to the championship and is part of a major renaissance of the series coming at a time of major changes and innovation.

"Bosch is a global company and it is fantastic it has embraced the Australian Rally Championship, not only providing a great financial boost but also its significant corporate stature, adding to the credibility and positioning of the ARC," said Scott Pedder.

"This comes at a time when we have boosted TV coverage of the series on Ten/One HD, initiated some significant rule changes including reducing restrictions and revitalised interest in the Championship," he said.

"Bosch coming on board, along with the moves we have made, has already lifted interest and discussion with several vehicle manufacturers who are contemplating involvement in the ARC.

"Automotive giants Honda and Hyundai are already involved in the Bosch Australian Rally Championship while other manufacturers are talking to us about their involvement," said Pedder.

 "Initiatives such as the new Junior Australian Rally Challenge aimed at identifying and developing young talent as well as the ARC's new Unrestricted philosophy have generated enormous interest with competitors and signing Bosch will lift the championship to another level," he said.

"Bosch is very excited about its new association with the ARC and the branding, as well as the customer relationship promotional opportunities it delivers," he added.

According to Phil Robinson, Bosch's Regional Director, Automotive Aftermarket, as a leading supplier to the automotive aftermarket, Bosch offers the most comprehensive range of vehicle servicing components, vehicle diagnostic and wheel servicing equipment to the industry.

"We are rapidly growing our brake business and see an alignment with the ARC as the perfect vehicle to communicate the development of our brake range to both our existing and future customers," said Phil Robinson.

"Bosch is a global leader in the development of braking systems, including ABS, and in conjunction with the PBR brake range, we now have the most comprehensive brake package available," he said.

"As our customers are passionate about all forms of motorsport, sponsorship of the ARC provides a perfect opportunity to highlight our growing range and to talk about the benefits of the Bosch brake program," he added.

More than 2.5 million Australians will see the Bosch ARC on TV in 2011 and the series will generate more than 36 hours of national television across the Ten/One HD network, generating a media equivalency value exceeding $6 million.

The Bosch Australian Rally Championship has also signed multi-national fuel and lubricant giant BP as the primary fuel supplier and Korean tyre giant Kumho as the exclusive tyre supplier for the championship.

The opening round of the Bosch ARC, the Quit Forest Rally in WA, is scheduled for April 15-17, with round two the International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast on May 13-15, round three the Rally of South Australia in the Adelaide Hills from July 29-31, while the fourth round will run in conjunction with Australia's World Championship round, Rally Australia at Coffs Harbour on September 9-11. The grand finale to the Bosch ARC will be Rally Victoria in Gippsland on November 11-12.
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