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If you’re 25-years-old or under, then you will know exactly what the letters WRC stand for.

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By Anthony Crawford

The World Rally Championship is big business all over the globe, and made famous by millions of Xbox and Playstation gamers, driving the world’s best rally cars in some of the toughest rallies on the planet, without ever leaving their lounge rooms.

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But before the gamers, came the legendary Scottish driver, the late Colin McRae, and his hugely popular 555 Subaru World Rally Team car, which formed the basis of the WRC game series.

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When I say big, I mean over 5600 hours of WRC TV programming were broadcast across 228 channels in 132 countries around the world, and that was in 2008, whereas 2009 has been bigger, despite on rally.

And then there’s the website, WRC.com, which attracted an average of 5.6 million page views per month and growing day-by-day.

Rally New Zealand, Hamilton 29-31 08 2008

It’s hard to know who are the better drivers, the Formula One pilots or the WRC magicians? The French superstar, Sebastian Loeb was asked that very question in this morning’s press conference.

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He said, its an impossible question to answer, as both forms of motor sport require a different skills set although, he was quick to acknowledge that Mika Hakkinen had surprised many people with his debut performance in the recent Arctic Rally, in Finland.

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This year’s tenth round of the WRC is the Repco Rally Australia, and is being run in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. Key places include centres like Kingscliff and Murwillumbah, which means plenty of opportunity for spectators to get up close and personal, to what should be some electrifying high speed magic.

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Just three points separates reigning champion Loeb and current leader Mikko Hirvonen, so you can bet that both drivers will be pushing their cars relentlessly across all stages.

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You may not have heard of Sheikh Khalid Al Qassimi from the United Arab Emirates. He drives for the BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team along with teammate Jari-Matti Latvala.

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The word is, that the Sheikh is keen to get home to the Emirates, where he has a brand new Bugatti Veyron sitting in his garage, which he has barely driven.

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And while Norway’s gifted Petter Solberg may not competing in Australia this year, his equally talented brother Henning Solberg, who is two series points ahead of Petter, will be driving for a podium.

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We also have an Australian by the name of Chris Atkinson, who will be driving a Citroen C4 WRC for the Citroen Junior Team.

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Chris, who was previously with Subaru before they pulled the plug on the program, is currently 14th in the standings, with four championship points to his credit.

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We are down to the business end of the season, with just two events remaining in the series, Spain and Wales, so the driving will be ferocious and a treat for spectators.

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If you do decide to treat yourself to some of the world’s most talented driving, Murwillumbah is the place to be each night, when the Tweed Super Special Stages are run. These will be the pick stages of Repco Rally Australia, where you will close to all the action.

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CarAdvice will be at the WRC event, and will bring you plenty of great action shots of the cars.

Rally de Portugal, Faro 2-5 04 2009

WRC Teams 2009

  • Citroen Total World Rally Team

Based: Versailles, France

Car: Citroen C4 WRC

Drivers: Sebastian Loeb, Daniel Sordo

  • BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team

Based: Cumbria, England

Car: Ford Focus RS WRC

Drivers: Mikko Hirvonen, Jari-Matti Latvala, Khalid Al Qassimi

  • Stobart VK M-Sport Ford Rally Team

Based: Cumbria, England

Car: Ford Focus RS WRC

Drivers: Matthew Wilson, Urmo Aava, Henning Solberg

  • Munchi’s Ford World Rally Team

Based: Cumbria, England

Car: Ford Focus RS WRC

Drivers: Federico Villagra

  • Citroen Junior Team

Based: Versailles, France

Car: Citroen C4 WRC

Drivers: Conrad Rautenbach, Evgeny Novikov, Sebastien Ogier, Chris Atkinson




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