WRC: Aussies don t want to share
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Australian rally officials want to ensure the race remains an annual WRC fixture on the world championship calendar, ahead of event-sharing with their New Zealand counterparts.
New Zealand has not hosted a WRC event since 2012, when a year-to-year cycle agreement with Australia was ended.
The country has again been left off the provisional calendar for 2017, and New Zealand driver Hayden Paddon believes the only way the event will return to his homeland is if the two countries collaborate to once again share hosting rights.
But Rally Australia sporting director Adrian Stafford said he could not see that happening ahead of this weekend's season-ending event in Coffs Harbour.
"We're determined to still put a solid case forward for Australia to retain its spot, irrespective of what might not happen with New Zealand," he said. .
"This event has developed incredibly in the few years it's been in Coffs Harbour and you cannot do that if you're on a rotational-type system. It's not out of the question that there could be events in both Australia and New Zealand."
Paddon is an ambassador for Rally New Zealand, and has grown in popularity in recent years.
The 29-year-old this year became the first New Zealander to taste WRC victory when he won in Argentina, and could finish as high as second in the championship with a strong-showing this weekend -- when there are no Australians in the field.
New Zealand first hosted a round in 1977, and held an event every year between 1982 and 2008 with the exception of 1996.
It then returned in 2010 and 2012 as part of the agreement with Australia, who have also been hosting rounds since 1988.
Paddon said, however, he couldn't see the events being held side-by-side.
"We'll never have a New Zealand and an Australian rally in the same year," he said. "It's a matter of New Zealand and Australia working together."
The Hyundai driver also said he believed it could be to the benefit of both events if they rotated every couple of years.
"A rotation of two or three years in each country would keep things fresh, keep things current, people then want to keep coming back.
"When you keep having a rally in the same place every year it's harder to keep that spectator interaction."
New Zealand had hoped to return to the calendar in 2016, but were trumped by other new entries and have not been listed on the provisional 2017 schedule.
Meanwhile, Australia's position in the championship schedule is secured until at least next year.