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Top international and Australian rally crews have begun arriving on the Sunshine Coast to prepare for next weekend’s International Rally of Queensland – and to experience local tourist attractions.

A total of 83 cars have entered the three-day event, which starts with the Coates Hire Rally Shootout at Caloundra, about an hour’s drive north of Brisbane, on Friday night.

They are expected to be accompanied by up to an estimated 2000 visiting drivers, co-drivers, team members, supporters, sponsors and media.

It’s a busy week for the crews, conducting car testing, last-minute preparation and technical scrutiny, route reconnaissance and attending sponsor, media and promotional functions.

But already some early arrivees have found time to enjoy one of Australia’s most popular holiday playgrounds, which stretches along more than 20 kilometres of Pacific Ocean coastline from Caloundra to Noosa Heads.

Members of the Indian MRF team, drivers Katsu Taguchi and Guarav Gill and co-drivers Chris Murphy and Glen Macneall, played golf yesterday at the Hyatt Coolum resort, home of the Australian PGA Championship.

Today, Taguchi and Gill take an ocean fishing charter from Mooloolaba.

Public opportunities to see cars and drivers on the coast start with an autograph appearance at Kawana Shoppingworld from 6pm on Thursday by two Australian teams, Mark Fawcett/Simon Ellis from Ballarat and John Bruinsma/Lisa White from Perth.

On Friday morning, two Coast student winners of a Sunshine Coast Daily colouring competition will be picked up from home and chauffeured to school in rally cars, a money-can’t-buy experience.

The event starts on Friday from 5.30pm with a rally car display, autograph session, grand parade led by motor racing legend Kevin Bartlett and start ceremony with Sports Minister Phil Reeves. Competition on two special stages begins from 7.30pm.

Tickets are on sale on-line at www.rallyqueensland.com.au and can be bought at the gate.

Other opportunities to see rally action will be at the Imbil Spectator Park and Novus Autoglass Service Park at Imbil Showgrounds throughout the weekend, a service break (pit stop) at Kenilworth on Saturday morning, meet-and-greet visit to Cooroy on Saturday afternoon, the Mary Valley Show Society’s U-ROCK when IROQ party at the showgrounds on Saturday night and the official finish and podium presentation at Imbil at 3.30 pm on Sunday.

WHERE TO SEE THE CARS AND DRIVERS

Thursday

6pm-7pm, Kawana Shoppingworld, cnr Nicklin Way and Point Cartwright Drive, Buddina. Rally drivers autograph session, rally car display, ticket giveaways.

Friday

5.30pm-9pm, Sunshine Coast Industrial Park, Racecourse Road, Caloundra. Rally Show and Coates Hire Rally Shootout (Special Stages 1 & 2). Gates open to public and rally cars on display from 5.30 pm. Rally Show with product displays, food and drink, children’s rides, driver autographs session, approx. 6.50pm Queensland Sports Minister Phil Reeves flags cars away on Grand Parade (including racing legend Kevin Bartlett in the latest Chevrolet Camaro), 7.10pm official cars on course, 7.30pm first car starts the rally.

Saturday

8am, Charles Street (between Elizabeth & Anne Streets), Kenilworth. Rally cars visit in seeded order for 10-minute service break before proceeding to first special stage of the day.
All day, Derrier Road, Imbil. Spectator Park. Field passes through twice from approx. 8am and 12pm, food, drink, rides, displays.
All day, Imbil Showgrounds. Novus Autoglass Service Park.
5pm, Cooroy Library, Maple Street, Cooroy. Rally cars meet-and-greet, plus Noosa Beach Classic Car Club competition and classic car display, music, food and refreshments
5.30pm, Imbil Showgrounds. U-ROCK when IROQ Mary Valley Show Society welcome party, music, food and drinks.

Sunday

All day, Derrier Road, Imbil. Spectator Park. Field passes through twice from approx. 8.49am and 2.30pm,, food, drink, rides, displays.
All day, Imbil. Novus Autoglass Service Park.
3.30pm, Imbil. Novus Autoglass Service Park, rally finish and podium presentations.


TICKET PRICES
(On-line www.rallyqueensland.com.au or at the gate)

Friday

Coates Hire Rally Shootout, Caloundra
General Admission, adult $24, child (under 14) $6*
Corporate Hospitality Party Deck, adult $145 (10 people, pay for nine $1305), includes two-course meal, bar, parking

Saturday & Sunday

Imbil Spectator Park
General Admission, per day adult $18, child (under 14) $6*
Corporate Hospitality, per day $99 (10 people, pay for nine $891), includes two-course meal, bar, parking

Event Super Pass (Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
General Admission adult $42, child (under 14) $12*

* Children admitted free with original coupon printed in Sunshine Coast Daily on 17, 21, 23, 24, 28 and 31 July, when accompanied by a paying adult.

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

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