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Marcus Grönholm at the Bunnings Jumps, one of the most famous features of the Rally Australia.

Rally Australia is an automobile rally event which was held in and around Perth, Western Australia from 1988 until 2006, when that state's tourism commission severed its collaboration with the event. The rally was part of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in 1988 and the World Rally Championship from 1989 to 2006. The next event is due to be held in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales in early September, 2009 and automobile parts supplier, Repco, have just signed on as joint sponsors of the event and Rally New Zealand.

Contents

History

The FIA World Rally Championship first came to Australia hosted in the state capital of Perth, Western Australia. Initially a super-special stage was run at Richmond Raceway near Fremantle with the service park at Langley Park on the Swan River. Competitors pushed as hard as they could on the world-famous jumps in the Bannister Forest, the super-special stage Langley Park & later the Gloucester Park Super Special stage.

It was praised for its unique road surface, consisting of tiny, smooth round stones that had the effect of driving on ball bearings. Rally Australia was voted "Rally of the Year" in 1995, 1999 and 2000 by the WRC teams.

The 2006 rally held on the 26th to 29th of October was the final one staged in Western Australia. It has been cancelled by the holders of the rally contract, the Western Australia Tourism Commission. After missing a year from the 2007 WRC calendar, Rally Australia was to have a new home from 2008, based on the Gold Coast, Queensland on the east coast of Australia. However without planning approval from the Queensland state government to construct the proposed I-METT facility to headquarter the rally, the event was on hiatus.[1][2]

Rally Australia's return has since been announced for September 2009, with the event to be based out of Kingscliff in northern New South Wales. The event will alternate year to year with the Rally New Zealand for a place on the World Rally Championship.[3] The NSW state government designated the rally a major event. Rally organisers cite the huge impact of the event upon the economy of the region. The location for the event, planned to run there every second year until roughly 2020, was agreed upon between Rally Australia directors, local mayors and representatives from Events NSW, a state government tourism body.

Winners

Season Driver Co-driver Car
2009 Finland Mikko Hirvonen Finland Jarmo Lehtinen United Kingdom Ford Focus RS WRC 09
2006 Finland Mikko Hirvonen Finland Jarmo Lehtinen United Kingdom Ford Focus RS WRC 06
2005 Belgium François Duval Belgium Sven Smeets France Citroën Xsara WRC
2004 France Sébastien Loeb Monaco Daniel Elena France Citroën Xsara WRC
2003 Norway Petter Solberg United Kingdom Phil Mills Japan Subaru Impreza WRC2003
2002 Finland Marcus Grönholm Finland Timo Rautiainen France Peugeot 206 WRC
2001 Finland Marcus Grönholm Finland Timo Rautiainen France Peugeot 206 WRC
2000 Finland Marcus Grönholm Finland Timo Rautiainen France Peugeot 206 WRC
1999 United Kingdom Richard Burns United Kingdom Robert Reid Japan Subaru Impreza WRC99
1998 Finland Tommi Mäkinen Finland Risto Mannisenmäki Japan Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution V
1997 United Kingdom Colin McRae United Kingdom Nicky Grist Japan Subaru Impreza 555
1996 Finland Tommi Mäkinen Finland Seppo Harjanne Japan Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III
1995 Sweden Kenneth Eriksson Sweden Staffan Parmander Japan Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution III
1994 United Kingdom Colin McRae United Kingdom Derek Ringer Japan Subaru Impreza 555
1993 Finland Juha Kankkunen United Kingdom Nicky Grist Japan Toyota Celica GT-Four
1992 France Didier Auriol France Bernard Occelli Italy Lancia Delta HF Integrale
1991 Finland Juha Kankkunen Finland Juha Piironen Italy Lancia Delta Integrale 16V
1990 Finland Juha Kankkunen Finland Juha Piironen Italy Lancia Delta Integrale
1989 Finland Juha Kankkunen Finland Juha Piironen Japan Toyota Celica GT-Four
1988 Sweden Ingvar Carlsson Sweden Per Carlsson Japan Mazda 323 4WD

References

  1. ^ Rally round planned for Australia called off Herald-Sun, October 25, 2007
  2. ^ Queensland world rally event scrapped The Age, October 26, 2007
  3. ^ WRC to return to Australia in 2009 Sydney Morning Herald, September 10, 2008

External links

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