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Motorsport action will return to the Sunshine Coast next year following confirmation of a July-August date for the annual Rally Queensland.

The event will be staged on 31 July-1 August and will be round four of seven in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally championship (APRC) and round five of six in the 2010 Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

In recognition of its now-established international status organisers will introduce a new name for the event, International Rally of Queensland.

Event Director Errol Bailey said the new name would emphasise to the public and potential partners that the rally was now a true international event with competitors from throughout the Asia Pacific region and substantially greater promotional exposure around the world for the Sunshine Coast.

“After our initial experience as an FIA Asia Pacific round in 2008, we are now keen to develop the International Rally of Queensland further as a showcase for one of Australia’s most beautiful tourist destinations,” Mr Bailey said.

“We will be encouraging more support and coordination with State and regional authorities and commercial organisations involved in Sunshine Coast tourism to take advantage of the rally’s growing international profile.

“Our plans also include some exciting new developments for the event itself, which we will be announcing over the coming  months.”

The 2010 International Rally of Queensland will mark the 42nd time a round of the Australian Rally Championship has been staged in  Queensland.

Supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council, it has been held on the coast for more than a decade and is one of the region’s most important annual sports events.

The 2008 rally, headquartered at  Marcoola Beach and featuring forest stages around Imbil in the Mary Valley, attracted drivers from India, Japan, Singapore, China, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Australia.

It included a qualifying competition for the Pirelli Star Driver program, from which winner Hayden Paddon of New Zealand has graduated to the 2010 World Rally  Championship.

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