World's best drivers confirmed for Rally Australia
THE world's top rally drivers are confirmed starters for next month's round of the World Rally Championship to be held on the Coffs Coast.
THE official entry list for Coates Hire Rally Australia was released yesterday, showing 30 cars will line up for the event from September 12 to 15.
Among the drivers are current World Championship leader Sebastien Ogier (Volkswagen), three-time Rally Australia winner Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen) and Russian ace Evgeny Novikov (M-Sport Ford).
Drivers and co-drivers represent a wide range of nationalities, including Finland, France, Great Britain, Norway, Russia, Qatar, Ukraine, Venezuela and Argentina.
The list approved by the Federation de l'Automobile features drivers in three Volkswagen Polo R WRCs, three Citroen DS3 WRCs and three Ford Fiesta R WRCs in the outright class competing for the Manufacturers Championship, the Drivers Championship and Co-drivers Championship.
A dozen Australian crews have entered the event, while New Zealand's 2011 Production World Rally Champion Hayden Paddon will compete in a WRC2 Skoda Fabia S2000.
Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said he was delighted with the strength of the final entry.
"This is a great vote of confidence from competitors in what they expect us to turn on for them in just a few weeks,"Mr Rainsford said.
"We can assure them it will be a very demanding but enjoyable challenge for the world's best rally drivers - and of course a fabulous spectacle for our ticket holders."