The important Shakedown stage and pre-event formalities get WRC Rally Australia into gear today.
After completing two days of reconnaissance on the Coffs Coast roads in standard cars, crews are aboard the rally cars for the first time today at the Shakedown stage.
Completing multiple runs on the 4.98km Hydes Creek loop (about 20km to the south-west of the Coffs Harbour city centre) could hold a little more importance than Shakedown has on the recent Europe-based events.
No pre-rally testing has been allowed in Australia so the shakedown runs provide a short opportunity for drivers and engineers to fine tune car set-ups ahead of the rally.
The leading WRC drivers are in action on the Shakedown stage from 8.00am till 9.30am (10am-11.30am NZ time).
Thursday’s other events are the official FIA Press Conference (3.30pm NZ time) and evening ceremonial start formalities.
From 6pm-8.30pm (NZ time) a rally show takes place at the Coffs Harbour City Centre before crews drive over the start ramp.
The competitive action begins on Friday with eight gravel special stages totalling 125km using a mix of shire and forestry roads.
World Championship leader Sebastien Ogier will be the first car on the road at 9am (NZ time) and is due to complete the day at the Coffs Harbour Service Park at 7.19pm (NZ).
www.wrc.com for live results, split times and commentary on World Rally Radio.