RALLY Australia organisers have reiterated their commitment to the Northern Rivers and may divert some stages of the World Rally Championship round to parts of the Richmond Valley.

Rally Australia is expected to be held on September 11, 2011, with the dates to be confirmed at the World Motor Sport council meeting on June 23.

Rally Australia chairman Alan Evans said the rally would continue to be based at Kingscliff and run throughout the Tweed and Kyogle shires, despite the protests that dogged the event last year.

“We are looking at a range of options, but rally headquarters will continue to be in Kingscliff,” he said.

“We’re looking at the best location for the service park, but Murwillumbah and Kyogle will continue to be an important part of the rally and we are certainly talking to Casino.

“September is the perfect time for us because it is outside school holidays and it doesn’t clash with other major events like Bathurst (1000), the Gold Coast carnival (formerlyIndy) or footy finals.”

Richmond Valley Council general manager Brian Wilkinson believes the rally would be good for the area.

“There was some discussion some time ago, mainly through our tour-ism people, but we are certainly interested,” he said.

“We tried to run some promotions to bring people to Casino during the last rally. We’d be happy to have a look at anything that could benefit the Richmond Valley.”

Mr Evans also confirmed the hiring of a new general manager for the rally was imminent. Staff is renewed between events as the rally is runevery second year. New Zealander Gary Upson was the general manager for last year’s event.

Meanwhile, rumours persist that Rally Australia organisers are hoping to secure the event annually, meaning Rally New Zealand would be dropped from the WRC calendar.

However, this may prove politically difficult as the chairman of the WRC is a New Zealander.

Mr Evans declined to comment on the push.

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