World Rally cars come to play at Raleigh | PHOTOS, VIDEO

HUNDREDS of devotees packed Raleigh Raceway today to watch some of the world's best drivers do their thing on a tight and testing course normally the preserve of go-karts.

The FIA World Rally Championship got underway in earnest on the Coffs Coast today, and the final round of the series will continue across the weekend, including the vaunted Valla stage in Nambucca Shire tomorrow.

At the Raleigh Raceway, a special course incorporating both bitumen and dirt was arranged and drivers completed two laps.

A bumper and growing crowd was on hand – most camped in the shade under the gum trees – waving flags and blowing air horns in appreciation.

Perennial crowd favourite Sebastien Ogier has already secured this year’s championship and the Volkswagens are again expected to dominate the Australian leg, though the new presence of Skoda could upset the applecart.