The NSW government has committed their support to Rally Australia for a further three years, taking the agreement up until the end of 2020.
As the world-wide fight for a round of the WRC continues, this is tremendous news for the rally, which will run for the 25th time since its WRC debut in 1989.
The Coffs Harbour based event will be the final round of the World Rally Championship again in 2018, although the event’s future in the championship after that has not yet been confirmed.
“The WRC has been confirmed for ’18, ’19, and ’20 by the NSW Government,” said Andrew Fraser MP, Member for Coffs Habrour.
“We will continue to fund it on the Coffs Coast, which is great news. We have an opportunity to keep this event here and keep Coffs Harbour on the world stage.”
While Rally Australia’s spot on the 2018 calendar hasn’t been officially confirmed, it is expected be a formality after recent news that a return to New Zealand has effectively been taken off the table due to concerns over finances and commercial viability.
Rally Australia Clerk of Course Wayne Kenny said that year-on-year agreements will determine the event’s fate for 2019 and 2020.
“We’re on the calendar for 2018, and we expect that we’ll remain there,” said Kenny.
“The WRC promoter has already stated that he doesn’t think New Zealand will be there due to lack of funding, and I think Croatia had an issue with dates.
“So logically, if you look at what’s available around the world, we’re the obvious choice to remain where we are.”
“The 2018 event will be the only contract that we’ll get [this year]. We won’t get ’19 and ’20 straight up, because there are no three-year contracts going at the moment.
“We were the first event to get a three-year contract, now there’s only 12-month contracts.
“There are numerous countries trying to come into the championship, but we’re in a solid position. We’re reasonably confident we won’t have a problem.”
In terms of date, Kenny is expecting Rally Australia to be the season finale next year, which means retaining the third weekend in November.
It also means Supercars will need to retain the end of November weekend for its season-ending Newcastle round, if it wants to avoid a clash with the WRC event.
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