Coffs to create more Rally Australia memories
- 15th November 2017, 4:00pm
The aerial footage of him stopping and immediately dropping the clutch after the second instance has been played thousands of times.Surpassing that, however, is the most famous of the three accidents. With his helmet hanging outside of the open window, Sainz and the Toyota barrel rolled to its retirement, as there was no coming back from this one. Colin McRae’s ‘antics’ at Rally Australia are also well publicised, though not necessarily with the wheels in contact with the ground. Like Sainz, the Scot had his own big accident in 1999, but his jumps in ’97 and ’02 are the ones that stick into your memory.
Driving a Subaru in 1997, McRae launched into the stratosphere over the famous Bunnings jumps, leaving fans, and even co-driver Nicky Grist amazed.Five years later, he was on a charge in his Ford Focus when it nose-dived over the Muresk jump, forcing him to retire. McRae, however, would win the rally on two occasions. Who can forget Petter Solberg and Sebastien Loeb’s fight in 2003, whilst both vying for their first world title? The final day's battle was epic, and one which is now steeped into memory. Or the innovative Langley Park Super Special Stages, which saw many fall victim to a very public humiliation. Simon Evans (pictured below) was one of those unlucky drivers, however, we think four Australian Rally Championship crowns more than makes up for that small indiscretion. Think back to 2005, when the almost unstoppable Sebastien Loeb was well and truly stopped in his tracks. The Frenchman unbelieveably made a mistake and hit a tree, leading to his teammate’s victory. 2005 also saw local hero, Chris Atkinson’s extraordinary fightback. After leading through SS5, he dropped over two and a half minutes, only to surge back to fourth position. He finished only six seconds away from his first home podium. Wind the clock forward to 2011 - the first year in beautiful Coffs Harbour, where the weather did not come to play.
Amidst a huge Citroen in-fight, championship leader, Sebastien Loeb, rolled out of the lead, promoting team mate, Sebastien Ogier, to the lead.More drama followed as Ogier, too, crashed out, resulting in a commanding one-two win for Ford. Scratching the surface of the history of Rally Australia brings out many stories of days gone by. There’s a good feeling here in Coffs Harbour surrounding the 26th instalment - it will be a cracker! https://twitter.com/RallySportMag/status/930613946268114944
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