Supercars legend Craig Lowndes gave Kennards Hire Rally Australia a big thumbs up saying the Coffs Coast is the rally equivalent of ‘Bathurst’ – an iconic mecca of motorsport.

As a fascinated Rally Australia spectator, Lowndes, who is gearing up for next month’s final round of the V8 Supercars championships, said the city should be proud to lay claim to international motorsport – hosting the only Australian FIA event outside of Victoria.

“This is a major global sporting event and Coffs should be very proud of the work they’ve done staging it,” Lowndes said.

As Lowndes made the comments in Coffs Harbour, vision from the Rally Australia super special stage was met with widespread amazement across the world’s rally channels.

Aerial shots of the Jetty Foreshores stage are tipped to feature heavily in next year’s world rally advertising, with the WRC to return to the Coffs Coast for the final round on the 2017 calendar.

With next year assured the focus for the NSW Government and Kennards Hire Rally Australia organisers is securing rights with the Federation Internationale de l Automobile (FIA) for further WRC rounds in 2018/19.

On Monday night, the world’s leading drivers swapped their driving gear for bow ties and suits attending the WRC Gala Dinner on Sydney Harbour.

The awards dinner capped off the Rally Australia investment made by Destination NSW, which like the Coffs Harbour City Council put up funds to see the WRC return to the Coffs Coast.

“You couldn’t count what this has meant to us, you couldn’t count what this was worth, when you saw that super special stage on the Jetty Foreshores the other night that sells Australia,” Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said.

“Not just Coffs Harbour, not just New South Wales but Australia.

“It is something we cannot afford to do without, it brings in 14-odd million dollars to the local economy it brings in tourists and it sends a great message to the rest of the world, that hello world Coffs Harbour is a great place to come and stay.”

Pictured above: WRC Champion Seb Ogier with V8 Supercars legend Craig Lowndes.