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Up to 200 of the most desirable classic and modern-day sports cars from Australia and overseas will take to the challenging scenic roads of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for the second Suncoast Classic tarmac rally next July.

Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Maserati, Lamborghini, Lotus and many other exotic thoroughbreds are expected to line up for the rally, which is scheduled to run from 22 to 26 July, a day longer than the 2007 inaugural event.

The cars and their two-person crews entered in Competition or Touring classes will tackle more than 1000 kilometres of roads through the hills and valleys of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, around 100 kms north of Brisbane.

They will return at the end of each day to rally headquarters at the coast’s most prestigious resort, the Hyatt Regency at Coolum Beach.

The five-star Hyatt Regency Coolum offers a wide rage of accommodation, including suites, villas and residences, plus a private beach, PGA Championship-standard golf course, restaurants, conference facilities and easy access the coast’s major tourist attractions.

Although the Suncoast Classic is scheduled to run over five days, including a prologue on Wednesday 22 July to decide starting order for the following four days of “special stage” rallying, most crews, team staff and officials will spend at least a week a week on the coast, directly contributing millions of dollars to the local economy and carrying home their impressions of one of Australia’s most beautiful and popular tourist regions.

The winter weather in July on the Sunshine Coast typically is dry, with beach temperatures averaging 20 degrees.

Organiser Silverstone Events also plans to include Brisbane in the Suncoast Classic, with crews visiting the historic Lakeside motor racing circuit for the Prologue. Public, corporate and media viewing facilities will be provided to ensure the rally kicks off with maximum exposure.

Expressions of interest from potential entrants in the 2009 Suncoast Classic are being accepted and already the king of Australian tarmac rallying, Jim Richards, has said he wants to run his Shannons Insurance-backed Porsche GT2 in the outright Competition class.

Richards is a regular front-runner in the Classic Adelaide, also organised by Silverstone Events, and has won Targa Tasmania a record seven times.

In 2007 he was an official ambassador for the first Suncoast Classic and with co-driver Barry Oliver finished fourth in a Porsche 911 Turbo.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Suncoast Classic last time. It’s a fantastic event and we hope to be there with the Porsche GT2 in 2009,” Richards said.

He also described the 2007 course as “roads that will truly challenge all the drivers and a truly superb location”.

Director of organiser Silverstone Events, David Edwards, said the Suncoast Classic was an ideal rally for classic car owners from other countries to enter.

“The thrill of driving your own thoroughbred car in an event in another country is just part of the appeal of the Suncoast Classic. Our entrants also have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful holiday touring experience,” Mr Edwards said.

“The Sunshine Coast, Queensland and in fact the Australian eastern seaboard to Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide offer uncrowded roads, unique scenery and plenty of great places to stay.”

Adelaide-based Silverstone Events has unrivalled experience as an organiser of international tarmac rallies for classic sporting vehicles. The annual Classic Adelaide, now in its 12th year, is regarded as one of the world’s great open-road classic events, attracting around 300 cars from Australia, Europe and the Asia-Pacific.

Classic Touring, part of the Silverstone Events group, provides specialised services for classic car owners, including visits to events such as Britain’s Goodwood Revival meeting, touring groups for Ferrari and other marques and personal and vehicle transport logistics.

Potential entrants for the 2009 Suncoast Classic can contact Louise Kosta, Sales and Sponsorship Manager (08) 8227 0666 or visit the official website, www.suncoastclassic.com.au

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