First, it was last week’s Ride For Daniel that bypassed Coolum, now Coates Rally Queensland has given us the flick.
Last year, rally drivers and their vehicles took over the esplanade, which was closed for a few hours for a very popular autograph session and ceremonial start on the night before the rally got underway.
But this year a meet and greet session from 5.30pm on Friday, June 20 will precede the start of the Pacific Ford Shootout at Maroochy Showgrounds, Nambour.
Rally spokesman Chris Nixon said organisers decided it would be more economical to combine the meet and greet with the Pacific Ford Shootout at the Maroochy Showgrounds, rather than at Coolum where a venue had to be created from scratch.
He also said that at the time the rally was being organised, there was uncertainty as to whether the planned esplanade re-development would disrupt the event.
“But I really don’t think that was the deciding factor,” he said. “The deciding factor was the showground is there – all you’ve got to do is bring the cars there and turn the lights on.
“You don’t have to bring in an enormous amount of infrastructure and planning to close the road.”
Coates Rally Queensland is expected to welcome around 70 crews from every state for Round 3 of the 2008 national series which will take place in the Imbil State Forest next Saturday and Sunday.
The course will cover a total competitive distance of 247km over 18 special stages run car-by-car against the clock.
Adult tickets for the Pacific Ford Shootout and the Imbil Spectator Park cost $10, with children 12 years and under admitted free. Tickets will be on sale at the Nambour showgrounds, Imbil Spectator Park and Imbil Service Park – and online at www.rally queensland.com.au.
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