FOUR OF THE WRC’S LEADING DRIVERS KICKED OFF RALLY WEEK DOWN UNDER WITH A BRACING SURF IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN AT COATES HIRE RALLY AUSTRALIA’S (10 – 13 SEPTEMBER) COFFS HARBOUR BASE.
Andreas Mikkelsen, Mads Østberg, Ott Tänak and Hayden Paddon had the expert skills of multiple Australian Ironwoman champion Courtney Hancock to guide them through the basics in the calm waters of the town’s port, before testing themselves in bigger surf.
Østberg soon mastered the technique and said: “It was tricky, more so on the bigger waves, but it was fantastic just lying out there, waiting. You hit the waves and you have no chance. They just destroy you, but it was good fun.”
Estonian Tänak pointed out his home country suffered from a lack of major oceans and said: “It was my very first time on the ocean and on a surf board so it was a very good experience but I think I got a bit too excited! It was easier to get on the board than I expected.”
Back on dry land, Kris Meeke, Elfyn Evans, Jari-Matti Latvala and Thierry Neuville showed their rugby skills alongside the under 16 team at Coffs Harbour’s St John Paul College.
While Meeke and Evans dug deep into their schoolboy memories to show their abilities, Latvala and Neuville admitted they were more comfortable with a round ball than an oval one. All were nevertheless happy to accept coaching from the team which has just won a regional final.