Rally Australia party out of favour with teams

Running as first car on the road at Rally Australia in November doesn’t appeal to Sebastien Ogier. (Photo: Peter Whitten)The idea of running Rally Australia in November, and as being road-sweeper on potentially drier roads, doesn’t fill the Frenchman with enthusiasm.


Ogier sweeping in Australia
Ogier sweeping in Australia

“Imagine if it was the last round and you go there and play for the championship on that event; on such a rally,” he said Autosport in the UK.

“With such a disadvantage on the starting order, would it be a nice end for the championship? I don’t think so.

“If you go there as the leader, it would be really unfair and we don’t have this problem in GB – the difference between first and second on the road there is very small.”

Rally Australia’s bid for the final round revolves, in part, around staging an end-of-season party in Sydney on the Monday night after the rally concludes in Coffs Harbour.

Yet even that plan hasn’t received a popular response, particularly from Volkswagen boss, Jost Capito, and M-Sport’s Malcolm Wilson.

“We already have the FIA’s gala and we have our party ourselves, I’m not sure [it’s necessary],” Capito said recently.

“I can tell you now, we won’t be there,” Wilson added.

According to Ogier, drivers would have little appetite for post-event festivities in Sydney.

“The priority number one is not the party,” he said.

“OK, we must always support the events to promote the rallies, but after that rally I’m not sure people want to stay longer. I think they might want to get home.”

The 2016 WRC calendar is expected to be released by the FIA in October and the rally world will wait with bated breath to see if our round of the WRC will remain in its current September timeslot, or finish the 2016 season in November.