WRC set for return
COFFS Harbour is a very strong chance of hosting another round of the World Rally Championship if the exciting motorsport extravaganza returns to Australia.
Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said that Coffs Harbour proved itself a worthy host of the event more than a week ago.
"Barring a natural disaster or anything like that we will stay here, we don't want to start chopping and changing," Rainsford said.
"We'd like to establish a base here and start that development process."
Buoyed by the final figure of 92,223 fans attending the rally either at the super special stages or out on the forest roads, Rainsford added that the support of the Coffs Coast community was a critical part of the success of the Rally.
"The local community's reaction to the show that is the WRC has been extraordinary," he said.
"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."
Rainsford is confident that lessons learned from feedback given by the drivers will ensure that the forest stages will be even better when, not if, the WRC show returns.
"The roads on the second day are fantastic by anybody's standards and we have learned from the speeds witnessed on those roads," he said.
"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."
While a round of the World Rally Championship will be held in New Zealand next year, Rainsford said that the Coffs Coast will not be deprived of rally action in 2012.
"We will run a round of the Australian Rally Championship," he said.
"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."