Fast cars and their stars rally up the Coast
  • Wednesday 15 June 2016

Motorsports fans and local businesses are tuning up for this weekend’s International Rally of Queensland which is set to provide a turbo boost for the Sunshine Coast economy.

The International Rally of Queensland, celebrating its 10th year on the Sunshine Coast, will host rounds of the prestigious FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, plus the Kumho Tyres Australian Rally Championship and MRF Tyres Queensland Rally Championship.

Over the two-day event, the best drivers from the Asia Pacific Rally Championship, the Australian Rally Championship and the Queensland Rally Championship battle it out on the tough and demanding roads in the Imbil State Forest.

Tourism, Sport and Major Events Portfolio Councillor Jason O’Pray said the rally delivered invaluable international exposure for the region and millions of dollars in economic contribution to the local economy.

“The Sunshine Coast has proudly hosted the International Rally of Queensland for the past 10 years,” Cr OPray said.

"On average, the event has generated $3.5 million in direct economic benefit each year.

“The positive exposure for the destination is amazing as the event is shown on television in 118 countries to 463 million households and is broadcast nationally on Fox Sports with every show highlighting amazing footage of the Sunshine Coast, our Hinterland and the Mary Valley.

“Around 40 cars, including drivers and co-drivers representing five different countries, will compete in this year’s event.

“There’ll also be an entourage of up to 2000 crew members, supporters, family members, organising staff, volunteer officials and international media here for up to a week.

“The International Rally of Queensland is one of 60 major and regional events we’re hosting this year and features in our World is Coming campaign.

“This unprecedented schedule of diverse sporting and lifestyle events will attract more than 150,000 guests from 40 different countries to our region and generate about $100 million in economic activity.”

Local businesses are also revving up for the rally, with council and International Rally of Queensland hosting a local business breakfast highlighting the benefits of major events sponsorship to the local community, on Friday, June 17.   

Cricks Subaru at Maroochydore is also gearing up for the weekend’s action, with the dealership’s service department being used for rally car technical inspections.

Principal Deal Sam Bohner said the dealership was particularly excited about the weekend’s event.

“For us, rally driving is a big part of Subaru’s DNA and it will be nice to see it in action so close to home,”  Mr Bohner said.

“It is a great event for the Coast and we hope it stays part of our sporting calendar.”

Sunshine Coast locals will also have the chance to flag away the rally at the official ceremonial start on Friday June 17, to be held at Rotary Park, Cotton Tree.

The evening of fast cars and stars and free family fun will feature around 40 rally crews from overseas and Australia, rally car displays, autographs and photo sessions, children’s rides, market stalls and international food bars. The event starts at 5pm.

The ceremonial start will send crews and cars on their way to a challenging weekend of world-class rally competition on 240km of forestry roads in the Mary Valley.

Champion international drivers including Gaurav Gill (India), Michael Young (New Zealand), Fabian Kreim (Germany), Sanjay Takale (India), Fuyihiko Takahashi (Japan) will go head-to-head with top Australians such as four-time champion Simon Evans, Sunshine Coast local Ryan Smart and the “world’s number one female rally driver” Molly Taylor.