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Rally Australia, the round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) to be staged on the New South Wales Coffs Coast next September, has appointed experienced motorsport organiser and competitor David Catchpole as Event Manager.

Mr Catchpole will start his job in Coffs Harbour early next month and will have a central role in local planning and organisation.

He will lead a Coffs Harbour-based team of full-time staff responsible for community engagement, operations, administration, communications and overall implementation of the 12-15 September event.

The appointment follows that of Clerk-of-Course Adrian Stafford to lead the sporting organisation, including a force of up to 1000 officials.

Mr Catchpole joins Rally Australia after more than five years as Motorsport Activity Manager at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria, where he oversaw all competition, from the MotoGP, World Superbike and V8 Supercar championships to club events.

Previously, he was a Qantas aircraft maintenance engineer for 12 years and a successful tarmac rally driver, winning his class in the 2005 Targa Tasmania and Rally Burnie outright in 2006.

In earlier years, he also won six consecutive Tasmanian junior karting championships.

His appointment to Rally Australia will mean a homecoming to the Coffs region. His wife Heather hails from the Nambucca Valley and the couple visits her farming family regularly.

“My wife’s family has lived in the Nambucca Valley for more than 25 years, firstly growing bananas and then with an Angus stud farm,” Mr Catchpole said.

“We have been keen to settle back in the area and the job as Event Manager at Rally Australia has provided the perfect opportunity.

“I’m excited to be joining a team responsible for bringing the WRC - one of the world’s biggest motorsport competitions - to the Coffs Coast.

“Last year’s Rally Australia was a huge success, thanks in no small way to the support of the community. A warm welcome and efficient support for visiting teams and spectators are tremendously important and I’ll be working hard to encourage even greater community involvement in 2013.”

Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said Mr Catchpole would bring outstanding experience to the Event Manager role.

“We’re delighted David is joining us. His former position at Phillip Island included liaison with regulatory bodies such as the FIA and CAMS, championship organisers, competitors and others at a venue that has a major presence in its local community,” Mr Rainsford said.

“He will find the same thing in Coffs Harbour, so we’re especially pleased to be appointing someone who knows the region well already through his local family connections.

“And, of course, his love of rallying will be at the heart of his enthusiasm for the job.”

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