Australia was back in the World Rally Championship last week following a one-year absence. Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford spoke to official website about the Coffs Coast-based spectacular, which drew 92,223 fans, and his hopes for the future.

(Source:  How did the rally go for you?

BR:  It’s been exceptional. We have a number of things that we would like to develop to get the rally back to what it was in Perth in [2006], to become a showcase of the region and of the championship.  The event seems to have gone completely to plan?

BR:  Yes. We’ve been spoiled by the weather. Okay Friday was wet, but it didn’t last and the action has been fantastic out on the roads.  How has the event been received locally and by visitors?

BR:  We reached saturation point on local accommodation very early on and we had to span out a little bit into the other regions, but that’s been good for the surrounding shires. The local community’s reaction to the show that is the WRC has been extraordinary. We’ve had more than 25,000 people coming into the (Castrol Edge) Super Special and that, combined with the number of people we’ve had at the enthusiasts’ points out on the stages, is extraordinary. The good thing is that when you walk down the street, everybody knows about the rally. The numbers here are very high.  Some of the drivers were critical of a couple of stages, can you do anything about that?

BR:  Yes. That fits our development of the event. The roads on the second day are fantastic by anybody’s standards and we have learned from the speeds witnessed on those roads. We’ll make some changes to the route, we’ll lose some of the faster sections and pick up some of the more desirable roads in the region.  Will you run next year?

BR:  We will run as a round of the Australian Rally Championship. We are not on the WRC calendar, but we’ll be pushing hard to become an annual event from 2013. The ARC round will happen next year, giving us the chance to help with the development of officials and the like here. We can do that outside of the WRC spotlight. We’ll also look at giving the event a little bit of sizzle to remind people of the WRC  But it will remain in Coffs?

BR:  Absolutely. Barring a natural disaster or anything like that we will stay here, we don’t want to start chopping and changing. We’d like to establish a base here and start that development process.

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