WRC Rally Australia: Day One
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Setting the scene
The opening day of WRC Rally Australia competition takes crews to the south of Coffs Harbour for familiar forest and rural gravel road stages.
The Friday itinerary largely duplicates that of the 2015 event although there is an earlier start to accommodate the new Destination NSW Super Special Stage at the Coffs Jetty area that will be run twice this evening.
World champion Sebastien Ogier will depart the Coffs Service Park at 6.45am (8.45am NZ time) heading to SS1 Utungun (7.88km), SS2 Bakers Creek (16.65km) and SS3 Northbank (8.42km) – three stages which are each run in the same order and configuration as they were in 2015.
After a remote refuel in the town of Macksville the Newry stage has been shortened by almost 5km this year to 24.69km and there’s also a new spectator stage at a rallycross circuit on the outskirts of Coffs Harbour before the crews return from the morning stages and clock into the Service Park from 11.29am (1.29pm NZ time)
The afternoon schedule repeats the Utungun, Bakers Creek, Northbank and Newry stages before a regroup at the service park that will allow rally organisers to reverse the running order before crews race through the Super Special Stage double header.
The purpose-built super stage features a tight banked turn similar to a motocross berm, a jump beside the ocean beach and a 360-degree haybale turn negotiated twice on each timed run. The super special stage action will screen live in New Zealand on SkySport4 from 8.30pm.
In total the first leg of the 2016 WRC season finale comprises 119.39km of competitive driving and 332.52km of touring stages