EAT MY DUST! Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, of Finland, in their Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A/8 during the second leg of the BP U
EAT MY DUST! Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen, of Finland, in their Ford Focus RS WRC 06 A/8 during the second leg of the BP U

RALLY FOR 2009?

By STEVE SPINKS

KYOGLE will have to wait for one more year at least to host some stages of the World Rally Championship.

In August, The Northern Star revealed that some of Kyogle's unsealed roads were being considered as suitable for hosting two days of the 2008 WRC event that was to run out of the Gold Coast.

However, following a request by promoters i-METT Queensland Group Pty Ltd, the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) has submitted a formal request to the FIA, the governing body of the WRC, seeking a postponement of the first Queensland event until 2009.

When contacted by TheNorthern Star yesterday, i-METT Queensland Group Pty Ltd was unavailable for comment.

However, it's believed that the Kyogle Shire is still in the hunt to host some stages in 2009.

"Our line has always been that we're very keen to have the event in our area," a Kyogle Shire Council spokesperson said.

"We look forward to getting a proposal for the 2009 event."

More than $650 million could be spent on a related tourist precinct, a project that would include building an international standard motor racing circuit, theme park, hotels, automotive technology park and education facilities.

It is believed the promoters simply ran short of time.

CAMS said in a media release yesterday: "While the receipt of a request is extremely disappointing to CAMS, having regard for the timing imperatives, CAMS believes that the request by i-METT to postpone the first Queensland event until 2009 is in the best interests of the FIA World Rally Championship, Australia's standing in the eyes of the world's motor sport community and the long-term future of rallying in Australia."

Heavyweights of Australian motorsport including Garry Connelly, who was instrumental in getting Western Australia a number of Rally events in the early 1990s, were instrumental in recommending Kyogle as a host.

The Queensland promoters hope to host the event for five years when final approval is received.



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