Some of the stages on Rally Australia 2017 have sections that are run in both directions over the course of the rally. This is quite uncommon in rallying and especially WRC.
Looking at the itinerary, Pilbara and Pilbara reversed are a quite obvious pair – the opening stage of the rally is repeated in reverse on Sunday, both even driven twice. But looking more closely, the Eastbank stage from the opening leg shares some portions of Bucca 16 on the final day, some in reverse, some in same direction. Also, the shakedown stage of Boyds Deviation shares some parts with the power stage Wedding Bells 16, the beginning in the same direction, latter parts in reverse.
I can’t recall seeing reversed stages in WRC, but it’s a staple on national level. The recent example that comes to my mind was done in a Finnish Championship event called Lake City Rally this year, when the old 1000 Lakes Rally stage Savo was run in both directions, as they have done in many years. I’ve heard it was done sometime in the past in the Rally GB, or maybe back when it was still called RAC rally?
What does this mean then? It’s a way to use the same piece of road in a rally but giving the drivers a new stage, because there’s nothing they can use from the reverse order in their pace notes. Most likely a lot of work has to be done for a stage in order to make it work in reverse. The turning signs and spectator areas must be revised. The start and finish locations may not work reversed as they are.
I think the road used on a reversed stage shouldn’t get very rutty as that could probably be difficult to drive in reverse direction. At least Savo is a very firm-surfaced road that stays like it is. But what about those in Australia?
PS. Don’t be fooled with what appears to be stages run only once on Friday. The 48 km Nambucca 17 stage is just split in half into Welshs Creek and Argents Hill for the second leg.
EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that Rally Jordan 2008 had a similar concept of using same roads partially reversed. Check out Mahes, Kafrain and Shuna.
If you know more similar cases from WRC, please drop a comment!