Wales Rally GB taking racing to the streets

Wales Rally GB taking racing to the streets

photo: press office Wales Rally GB

Closed public roads in Great Britain will be used to host World Championship motorsport for the very first time this October in north Wales. The momentous milestone was confirmed with the announcement of an exciting, new-look competitive route for this year’s ground-breaking Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (4-7 October).

The recent introduction of landmark legislation allowing local authorities in England and Wales to suspend the Road Traffic Act for authorised motorsport events has allowed Britain’s round of the global WRC adventure to broaden its horizons.

As a result, in addition to the traditional four days of rally action in the forests, round 11 of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship, will culminate in a stunning shootout around the Tarmac of the Great Orme which then concludes on the streets of Llandudno in front of tens of thousands of fans.

Last year’s record-breaking event attracted more than 100,000 visitors and delivered £9.4m of economic benefit to Wales.

Elfyn Evans, Daniel BarrittThe huge crowds had much to celebrate, too, as they roared local hero Elfyn Evans to a famous victorythe first win in WRC history for a Welsh driver and the first for a British driver on Rally GB since way back in 2000. Evans was crowned in Llandudno and, fittingly, he was back in the town with the coveted gold Peall Trophy earlier this month, talking about this year’s revolutionary route.

As proved so popular last October, the action blasts off with a dazzling curtain-raiser under the spotlights at Tir Prince Raceway on Thursday evening.

Friday’s schedule switches to north Wales. Sections of closed road will help to create new challenges in the classic Brenig, Alwen and Penmachno forests. Friday also sees the introduction of a new double-header stage at Slate Mountain at The Slate Caverns, home to Zip World.

A gruelling ‘Super Saturday’ schedule will move the battle-ground to mid-Wales. There are the legendary forests such as Myherin, Sweet Lamb, Hafren, Dyfi and Gartheiniog. They offer plenty of capacity for the large numbers of spectators.

Sunday morning sees two forest tests in scenic Snowdonia – including Gwydir which will be the points-scoring Power Stage. After that, the thrilling finale on the streets of Llandudno comes. In Visit Wales’ ‘Year of the Sea’, the crews will race around the iconic Great Orme and then onto the closed streets of Llandudno. The flying finish will be on the resort’s famous seafront. And the 2018 winner will be crowned on the Promenade.

Wales Rally GB
photo: press office Wales Rally GB

In its entirety, the 2018 route adds up to 23 stages totalling more than 323km (200 miles) of electrifying competition.

Retaining an air of familiarity to the much-changed format, all the WRC teams will be based at the popular Deeside Rally Village, located in the grounds of the Toyota UK engine manufacturing plant, where public admittance is free of charge.

Further enhancing the event’s significance and appeal, this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB embraces the concluding two rounds of the Prestone MSA British Rally Championship, the UK’s premier rallying series.

Ben Taylor, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Managing Director, said:

“We are so excited by this dramatic new look to the route and would to thank everyone involved for making it possible. Last year was amazing with Elfyn’s victory, but the new legislation has allowed us to really freshen up the event. We have a whole day in North Wales complete with a midday return to service, Super Saturday will be an epic battle and the whole things builds to a fabulous climax on Sunday with our first ever street stage. It’s going to be one to remember!”

Wales Rally GB
photo: press office Wales Rally GB
Elfyn Evans, M-Sport Ford World Rally Team and winner of the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, added:

“Last year’s Wales Rally GB was really special for me – an event I’ll remember for a long time to come. This year everyone is working hard to make it even more spectacular with lots of classic stages and even more opportunities for people to see these amazing cars in action.”

“It looks like a great route with the inclusion of the Orme combined with all the fantastic forest stages. The finale through the streets of Llandudno will be very, very spectacular. There was an incredible atmosphere in town for the Ceremonial Finish last year and, now with the last stage finishing on the Promenade, it will just add to the incredible excitement. I always look forward to competing on home soil in Wales, and this year is no different.”