Sport

Cars set to hit the streets of Canberra for National Capital Rally

The National Capital Rally will literally stray from the beaten track this year, with a Super Special Stage following the roads alongside Lake Burley Griffin a highlight of the 2016 event.

The rally is the second event in the Australian Rally Championship season, and it runs across four days from May 26-29.

Hot wheels: Rally drivers Harry Bates from Neal Bates Motorsport, Adrian Coppin from Team Doma Hotels and Neal Bates ...
Hot wheels: Rally drivers Harry Bates from Neal Bates Motorsport, Adrian Coppin from Team Doma Hotels and Neal Bates from Neal Bates Motorsport will drive in the National Capital Rally in May. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra rally driver Adrian Coppin is particularly keen for this year's event, as he hopes it will help thrust Canberra into the nation's consciousness as a source of high-quality, entertaining rally driving.

"To have a premium motorsport event like the Australian Championship come to Canberra is a coup for Canberra and a real credit to the support of the ACT Government," Coppin said.

Coppin is not the only big name expected to feature. Father-son duo Neal and Harry Bates are expected to compete, with Harry hoping to improve on his third-place finish last year.

"For me, it's a big advantage to be competing at home," Harry Bates said. "I'm not familiar with many of the rallies and so on, and to do your home rally is much more comfortable. You're in your own surroundings and you've got the local support."

Event officials are expecting a turnout of more than 10,000 spectators for the event.

Veteran Neal Bates believes this event could also draw a crowd of online followers.

"People from all around, particularly Asia, see the event because rallying is huge online and on social media," Bates said. "It brings people into the events, motorsport in Australia. It's a multi-billion dollar industry.

"Canberra's not known for its excitement sometimes, and this is a very exciting event."