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A strong line-up of cars from overseas and Australia is expected to contest Coates Hire Rally Australia next month, after organisers received the final entries this week.

Entries for Round 10 of the FIA World Rally Championship on the New South Wales Coffs Coast on 12-15 September closed on Tuesday.

A draft list of starters will now be reviewed by the world motorsport governing body FIA before being announced.

The event’s sporting chief, Clerk of Course Adrian Stafford, says the draft list includes a full complement of crews and cars representing the outright contenders from Volkswagen, Citroen and Ford-mounted M-Sport.

Among them are in-form Northern Irish driver Kris Meeke, who was recruited to the Citroen squad this week in place of Spaniard Dani Sordo, and world championship points leader Sebastien Ogier from Volkswagen.

Australian teams also have risen to the challenge of testing themselves against the world’s best.

“We’re very happy with the number and quality of WRC teams coming to Australia. They promise a fabulous show of world-class action for our ticket holders,” Mr Stafford said.

“I expect a variety of cars at different class levels including Ford, Volkswagen, Citroen, Skoda, Mini, Subaru and Mitsubishi.

“The response to entries is a rewarding result for Rally Australia. We’re a long way from these teams’ homes on the other side of the world and the cost of shipping and other logistics is high.

“However, with a 21-year history behind it Rally Australia is well-regarded by the teams as an event worthy of its place in the World Rally Championship.

“We also have given the incentive this year of a total course distance of less than 1000 kms of competitive and non-competitive stages, one of the most efficient itineraries in the championship, which means valuable reductions in time, vehicle wear and cost for the teams.”

Mr Stafford said entries remained open for the East Coast Bullbars Australian Championship round until 22 August.

Cars in the ARC, Classic and Side-by-Side series will run on all or some of the roads used by WRC and are expected to swell the total event starters list to around 90.

Entries close on 6 September for the round of the Australian Off Road Championship that will be staged on a separate course north of Coffs Harbour on 14-15 September.

Coates Hire Rally Australia will get underway with a Ceremonial Start in the Coffs Harbour city mall from 4pm on Thursday 12 September, followed soon after by the first night of the ARMOR ALL Super Special Stage at the nearby Brelsford Park Rally Hub.

Brelsford Park will literally be the action hub throughout Coates Hire Rally Australia, with free nightly entertainment for ticket holders, a big screen showing Special Stage action day and night and the Hi-Tec Oils Service Park, where teams will be based.
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