It is time for round 10 of 13, and WRC moves to the land of the kangaroos. Starting from Thursday 12th September through the weekend to the final on Sunday 15th September, the action shifts to the eastern coastal land, around Coffs Harbour. Situated north of the capital of the Australian continent, about 400+kms off Sydney, the rally moves through wide roads on plains, and also in the forest roads of tight twisty lined with strong tall trees that can trap out even the best of the competition, if care is not exercised.
Most of the surface in the competitive stage sections can be quite slippery, though not similar to those yester-years’ ‘ball-bearing’ surface at location Perth, WA
. Even though those loose tiny round stones almost missing in these roads, it is famous to be quite deadly when it rains. So bottom-line, it is going to be one heck of a rally awaiting to happen.
2011 witnessed these roads that showed its brutality by victimizing both the Sebs back in their Citroen DS3 WRC, while consistently driving Mikko Hirvonen claiming his victory, back then. Although now Ogier behind the wheel of VW Polo R and though Loeb missing all from the action, doesn’t mean the rally be termed anywhere near to ‘sober’! Ogier is almost in reach of taking his first WRC driver’s title if he can claim top points, thereby ruling out any competition in the field to pressurize him during the rest of the remaining three other rallies.
However, all things is not easy for Ogier as Citroen who are back in the constructor’s title race, when the VW‘s succumbed to the pressure in their homeland at ADAC Rally and hence leaving the title race open for the French auto maker to compete. And in an attempt to help with their campaign, Kris Meeke replaces Dani Sordo, who was seen struggling for pace in the past few gravel events.
A new in 2013 is at the rally base located in the centre of Coffs Harbour, incorporating the service park and the super special stage which runs on mixed surface during Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. It also features of two cars taking the start simultaneously on opposite sides of a former velodrome oval, and moving out onto surrounding streets and finishing back in the oval.
Organisers also decided to re-align and add new competitive sections while also retaining the most popular stages from 2011. This event is also one of the WRC’s most compact events ever, with two of the three legs being not more than 35km from Coffs Harbour, that also helps in running the event with a cost effective budget plan.
Rally officially kicks off on Thursday 12th September with a short qualifying stage, followed by a rally show Coffs, the super special, run twice.
and then a ceremonial start and ends with a couple of competitive stage
Friday the rally moves near the town of Bellingen
located south of the rally base, with three brand new stages; Tuckers Nob
. These tests are run consecutively and after the noon’s 30-minute service halt the same are repeated. Another couple of trials at the super special marks the end of the day’s action.
On Saturday the actions shifts even down south with a couple tests that are run twice, first one ‘Valla‘ being same as in 2011, and another new 49.9km marathon stage called Nambucca, which is a fusion of two tests that ran in 2011. These two stages are run once in the morning and repeats post to mid-day service. Again, the day concludes with the final visit to the Coffs super special, run twice.
Final day, Sunday makes with another triple stages located north of Rally base, with a couple of new stages – Bucca
and Wedding Bells
– and the Shipmans
same as used in 2011. Post to noon service break, the stages are repeated, and Shipmans
being the Power Stage
, bonus points are at the disposal for the fastest three crews. Finally, the podium at Coffs
, after a quick 10m service back at the rally base.
And finally, coming down to a obvious question.. On who is your bet on?!