Telstra Rally Australia, Australia’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship, has won the prestigious Rally of the Year award for the second consecutive year.
The Perth-based event won the honour ahead of 13 other international rallies that make up the FIA World Rally Championship.
Announcing the award, Tourism Minister Norman Moore said this was the third time the event had been voted best rally in the world.
“The Australian round clinched the coveted title when it was first eligible in 1995, and then again in 1999,” Mr Moore said.
“To be the recipient of another, after such a short time, is an outstanding achievement, specially given that Telstra Rally Australia is still one of the youngest events in the 14-round FIA World Rally Championship.”
The latest award is voted by six teams, representing the major car manufacturers in the 2000 FIA World Rally Championship - Peugeot, Subaru, Ford, Mitsubishi, Hyundai and SEAT. It takes into account 10 criteria predominantly based on event organisation and the safety aspects of the rally.
The teams were particularly impressed by the event’s world-first safety initiative known as ‘Eye in the Sky’.
Rally organisers and sponsor Telstra fitted a gyro-controlled television camera to a helicopter and beamed live pictures continuously to Rally headquarters.
Clerk of Course Garry Connelly said this was the first time a round of the World Championship had attempted to monitor in real time the entire competition route of the rally.
“Using the technology we were immediately aware of any problems facing drivers competing on the special stages,” Mr Connelly said.
“This has provided a revolutionary breakthrough in the field of rally safety.”
A team of 20 Western Australian doctors also took part in a unique emergency training session as a part of their preparations for the event.
The session involved simulating a car crash in remote bush, with doctors using state-of-the-art equipment to treat ‘patients’.
The purpose of the exercise was to refine emergency procedures for Telstra Rally Australia which, with this and other initiatives, strives to lead the way in all aspects of event management.
The Minister said the award was the result of the work efforts of an enormously dedicated team of people.
“EventsCorp, its corporate partners, and more than 2,000 sporting officials work together year-round to present this rally on the world stage,” Mr Moore said.
“What often goes unnoticed is the incredible amount of skill and talent that’s been developed by many people involved in the annual staging of this international sporting event over a significant period of time.
“Without those skills, demonstrated at all levels within the rally, we would not be able to present the standard of event necessary to consistently achieve these international accolades.”
Telstra Rally Australia is managed by EventsCorp (the Western Australian Government’s major events agency) in conjunction with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS).
It is the flagship event on EventsCorp’s Best on Earth in Perth sporting and cultural calendar, and injects more than $20 million into the WA economy each year.
Mr Moore said another big benefit was the enormous amount of media coverage the event generated through the attendance of more than 400 national and international media.
“Images ranging from our beautiful Swan River, as a backdrop to the Langley Park Superstage, to our south-western forests present WA as an exciting and appealing tourism destination,” he said.
“The World Rally Teams glowing comments about the event, and State, reinforce this positive image to prospective visitors.”
Telstra Rally Australia’s remarkable success-story further cements WA’s reputation as one of the major event capitals of the world.
Earlier this month the Minister announced that 15 major events would be hosted by Western Australia as a part of the 2001 Best on Earth in Perth calendar. This action-packed series represents one of the best ever for major events in Australia.
Telstra Rally Australia will be a highlight of the 2001 calendar and be held from November 1-4.
Hartley Joynt,Minister’s Office, 9321 1444
Janine Carter, EventsCorp Public Relations Manager 9270 3311