Dust on Coffs Coast forest roads big challenge for WRC driversFriday September 13, 2013 - 09:58 EST
As the Coffs Coast leg of the World Rally Championships (WRC) enters its second day drivers are expecting challenging conditions.
Today the action will be on hundreds of kilometres of forest roads around Tuckers Nob, Bellingen and the Newry State forest.
One of Australia's leading international drivers Chris Atkinson said he is expecting the dry conditions will make for a difficult day.
"The roads are looking quite dusty out there," he said.
"I think it's been dry for quite a while, a really hard base.
"Early in the morning dust is going to be a problem for the guys following cars, will be finding it hard to see.
"As you can imagine it is pretty difficult when you're travelling at 200 kilometres an hour through the trees.
"That'll be the biggest factor I think early on.
"I think it's going to be an exciting event and hopefully lots of locals get out there and support it because I think it's great for the community."
Rally Australia said the dust has prompted changes to today's WRC action.
Rally Australia's Chris Nixon said despite the forecast for scattered showers organisers have responded to the dust issue.
"Any rain will certainly help but a decision had to be made last night, with the World Rally cars to increase the starting gap between them, from two minutes to three minutes," he said.
"An extra minute might just allow the dust to dissipate a bit.
"It tends to hang around in the forest, especially when it's dry and there's no breeze.
"So the WRC cars will start at three minute intervals rather than two minute intervals.
"For those who don't understand the cars run one at time through the stages.
"So that's had a bump-on effect through the day and a stage has been taken off each of the support categories."
© ABC 2013
More breaking news
Large areas of southern Australia can expect a foggy start to the next few mornings, reducing visibility for the first few hours, even in the southeastern capitals.
The strongest southeasterly wind surge since last Dry Season has swept out any lingering sticky humidity from the summer over a large swathe of the central and eastern tropics.
As the mercury plummets across South Australia ahead of winter, coastal properties are preparing for the inevitable storm surges.