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South Australia’s annual extravaganza of motorsport, mouth-watering machinery and high-powered partying, the Classic Adelaide international tarmac rally, will return for its 13th year next month with a host of exciting new attractions.

Two famous names from the motor racing world, Glenn Seton and Englishman Win Percy, will drive in the 18-22 November rally for the first time on a course that includes two new Special Stages, new morning tea and lunch-stop locations, a Saturday night street party and a new venue for the colourful ceremonial finish.

Details of the 2009 event were announced today during the official launch at Adelaide’s heritage-listed Torrens Parade Ground by SA Deputy Premier Kevin Foley and David Edwards, Director of rally organiser Silverstone Events.

The event, which starts with a prologue on the Climb to the Eagle on the Hill on the city outskirts and then runs over four different daily loops through the Adelaide region, is expected to attract more than 200 classic and performance cars and their crews from around Australia and overseas.

Supported by the South Australian Government and the South Australia Tourism Commission, Classic Adelaide brings valuable direct economic benefits plus significant media exposure to the region’s many attractions.

Mr Foley announced that Glenn Seton, the 1993 and 1997 Australian Touring Car Champion, will reunite with Nissan to drive the company’s latest 370Z sports car in Classic Adelaide.

Seton founded his reputation as one of Australia’s best touring car drivers while a member of the official Nissan team between 1984 and 1988.

Now retired from regular competition after more than 200 starts in the touring car championship, the 44-year-old will be making his first attempt at a tarmac rally.

His 245 kiloWatt Coupe, which will be joined by two identical models for guest drivers, promises to be a formidable entry in a field representing many famous makes including Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Jaguar.

Mr Edwards announced that 1990 Bathurst 1000 winner Win Percy will make his debut driving a Jaguar XF sedan, which will be the first diesel-powered car to tackle the event.

“We’re thrilled to be welcoming Win Percy, one of the most popular British drivers ever to compete in Australia, as an entrant in Classic Adelaide,” Mr Edwards said.

“He’s a great crowd-pleaser and will be out to prove with his Jaguar that sophisticated diesel cars have a place in modern motorsport.

“We also expect to be able to announce another entry supported by a European manufacturer in the near future. I’m delighted to see manufacturers taking advantage of the wonderful opportunity Classic Adelaide provides to showcase the latest performance vehicles.”

Regular drivers being welcomed back to Classic Adelaide include Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan, who joins Formula 1 World Champion Sir Jack Brabham as Event Patron, and Event Ambassador Jim Richards.

The 2009 rally incorporates many changes designed to refresh its appeal for competitors and spectators.

An additional competition category, Modern Competition, will allow entry by the latest high-performance cars on the Australian market, while older cars will be eligible to compete in the final round of the inaugural Australian Classic Tarmac Championship.

A significantly-revised route over 33 closed-road Special Stages will take the field to the Adelaide Hills, Strathalbyn, Mount Barker, Coromandel, Yankalilla, Macclesfield, Gorge Road, Mount Lofty, Echunga, Paris Creek and many other points within easy driving distance of event headquarters at the Hilton Adelaide in the city’s Victoria Square.

Under Clerk of Course Ivar Stanelis, some stages have been extended, others will be run in reverse and two new stages will run in the Adelaide Hills, Castambul (24 kms) on Thursday and Teringie (10.2 kms) on Saturday.

Social attractions for spectators and competitors will include morning tea stops at Balhannah Oval on Saturday and Mount Barker Green on Sunday, lunch at Goolwa on Friday replacing the traditional Victor Harbor stop, the regular Gouger Street Friday night party and a new outdoor display and dining venue, the Norwood Parade Street Party, on Saturday night.

The ceremonial finish on Sunday afternoon will move to King William Road, Hyde Park, a popular restaurant and shopping strip.

Millions of dollars worth of cars, some rarely seen on the road, will be on show on the stages and at the stops, with the public readily able to enjoy a close-up look.

David Edwards said Classic Adelaide would appeal to every type of competitor.

“The beauty of this event is that there are categories to allow every entrant to choose their pace, whether it is full-on competition, leisurely touring or something in-between,” he said.

“The Adelaide region roads are unsurpassed for their driving challenge and drivers have a rare opportunity to test themselves and their cars in controlled conditions while running through superb South Australian scenery.

“And at morning tea and lunch breaks and the nightly social events, there’s a unique camraderie among classic car enthusiasts from every part of Australia and even from overseas.

“There is nothing else in Australia like Classic Adelaide – some competitors say nothing like it elsewhere in the world – and this one is shaping up as the best yet.

“By making the changes we have this year, we are ensuring its popularity will continue as strongly as ever.”

Mr Edwards also announced that Variety SA, the children’s charity, will be the event’s official charity for the next two years.
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