Coffs Harbour to host Asia Pacific Rally finale
Former WRC venue Coffs Harbour will host the final round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship this season.
International rallying will return to New South Wales with the new-look Coffs Coast Rally on November 26-28.
The event will be the finale for both the APRC and Australian Rally Championship seasons, and gives Australia two APRC events alongside the qualifier in the Adelaide Hills on October 15-17.
Coffs Harbour hosted the World Rally Championship seven times across eight years, before what was meant to be its final appearance on the WRC schedule in 2019 was cancelled due to bushfires in the area.
“The NSW Nationals are building a safer and stronger regional NSW by securing world-class events for country cities, showcasing our incredible regions to the world,” said NSW deputy premier John Barilaro.
“This is an example of what can happen when you have a council who is prepared to work with the government and stakeholders to bring world-class events to regional NSW.”
Motorsport Australia president Andrew Fraser said the governing body will continue to work with the NSW government on getting international crews into the country.
As it stands Australia's borders are closed to other countries, new arrivals forced to spend 14 days in hotel quarantine.
“The Coffs Coast has been a big part of the Australian rally scene in recent years and we know this 2021 event will be another fantastic event for the region,” Fraser said.
“There’s no doubt that Coffs people know how to put on a world class rally and we are really excited to hosting this event which will see a great mix of competitors from both Australia and overseas late in 2021.
“Of course we will work closely with the NSW government to ensure the event follows all ‘COVID Safe’ protocols, including arrival of any international crews and spectators, who will be subject to the entry requirements at the time of the event.”
The APRC season is set to kick off with the South India Rally in Chennai on March 26-28.
That will be followed by a New Zealand double-header with Rally Otago on April 16-18 and the Rally of Whangarei on May 14-16. Rally Hokkaido is scheduled for September 10-12 before the Adelaide Hills Rally in October, Rally Longyou on October 22-24 and the finale in Coffs Harbour.
Competitors only need to compete in one of the seven qualifying events to be eligible for the finale.
The 2021 ARC season will start also start on the last weekend in March with the National Capital Rally in Canberra. The Rally of Queensland will then follow on May 21-23, Rally Tasmania on July 2-4, Gippsland Rally on August 7-8, Adelaide in October and Coffs in November.