Rally Australia has won its bid to host the final round of the 2016 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC).
The Australian WRC event, to be staged on the NSW Coffs Coast for the fifth time, will be contested from November 17-20, with the NSW government and organisers planning to introduce a post-season gala function the next day in Sydney.
The tally of 14 rounds in the 2016 season calendar is one more than in recent seasons and includes China for the first time since 1999.
This year’s Rally Australia fell 10th on the calendar and proved the title-clincher, as Frenchman Sebastian Ogier triumphed and collected a third consecutive world crown.
However it had a tough task competing with AFL and NRL finals for Australian media attention.
“Moving to November re-positions Rally Australia away from competition for spectator attendance and media coverage with other major domestic sporting fixtures, which we’ve had to contend with around our recent date in September,” said Rally Australia chairman Ben Rainsford.
Without the need to rush home to the northern hemisphere for the next event, many international rally visitors will have an opportunity to stay on and see more of the beautiful Coffs Coast region and NSW – something they have said they want to do.
“We are also planning to take the WRC to Sydney the night after the event finishes for a post-season gala function.
“This will be a new feature of the WRC season and will bring all the glamour of one of the world’s great motorsport championships to one of the most spectacular cities in the world, Sydney.
“It will be a night to applaud not only the champions, but also the other stars and those behind the scenes among the teams, organisers and media and for everyone to let their hair down after 11 months travelling to 14 countries and five continents.”
Rally Australia last hosted the WRC closing round in 1994 and 1995, when it was staged in Western Australia.
2016 FIA WRC CALENDAR:
* Rd 1 Monte-Carlo, Jan 22-24
* Rd 2 Sweden, Feb 12-14
* Rd 3 Mexico, March 4-6
* Rd 4 Argentina, April 22-24
* Rd 5 Portugal, May 20-22
* Rd 6 Italy, June 10-12
* Rd 7 Poland, July 1-3
* Rd 8 Finland, July 29-31
* Rd 9 Germany, Aug 19-21
* Rd 10 China, Sept 9-11
* Rd 11 France, Sept 30-Oct 2
* Rd 12 Spain, Oct 14-16
* Rd 13 Great Britain, Oct 28-30
* Rd 14 Australia, Nov 17-20