NEWS: 2013 Wales Rally GB Moves North & Night Stages Return

Great news for Wales Rally GB fans – the 2013 event (November 14-17) will feature a brand new route, a new base (for the UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship), new HQ on Deeside and special ceremonies in Conwy and Llandudno on the stunning North Wales coastline. Plus, there will be a return to the popular night stages and family spectator stages – likely to be in the coastal towns, to draw in the crowds and involve the community. And the new, more compact route will also offer a wide range of tickets, to encourage spectating. 
Always a great, well respected event, but at risk of getting stuck in its ways down in South Wales, this is great news, we reckon. And organisers say the rally's new route – which will be announced here soon –  "will reinforce the legendary event’s position as one of the most challenging and attractive on the FIA World Rally Championship calendar." 
The UK's only WRC event has been based in South Wales since 2000 and the move comes after the recent announcement of an extended partnership with the Welsh Government and as a result of wide-scale consultation with manufacturers, teams, competitors and spectators. 
A spokesman said: "Highlighting the automotive industry’s importance to the Welsh economy, the rally’s Headquarters and central Service Park will be located on a new site being prepared alongside the Toyota Engine Plant on Deeside in Flintshire. The event’s ceremonial start will be hosted in Conwy on the Thursday evening with the finishing line celebrations in neighbouring Llandudno on Sunday afternoon." 
Four-days of competitive action will feature a more compact route with the majority of the timed Special Stages set in the classic Welsh forests. Adding to the overall appeal both night and family-friendly spectator stages are being reintroduced into the itinerary and fans will be offered a wider range of tickets at significantly lower prices than before. Full ticket details will be announced when the final route is confirmed but the pricing structure is being radically changed to cater for both traditional rally enthusiasts in the forests and new audiences expecting additional facilities.
"We have listened to what the teams and fans want in our determined efforts to create what we are confident will be not only one of the best rounds in the WRC but also a fitting finale to the entire 2013 world championship," explained Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of rally organiser International Motor Sports. 
"South Wales has provided us with a fantastic home for Wales Rally GB since 2000 but the move to North Wales has a number of significant advantages. Most importantly, perhaps, we are closer to the sport’s traditional heartlands, some iconic rally forests, as well as being within a short drive of some of the larger conurbations in the UK such as Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands. Taking those factors into account, as well as our new ticket pricing policy which is designed to cater for both hardcore rally fans and a wider family audience, we are confident that the 2013 Wales Rally GB will be a highlight on the motor sport calendar."
Welsh Government Minister for Economy, Transport and Science, Edwina Hart, said: "This is exciting news for the Wales Rally GB and for North Wales. The event has always drawn the crowds in North Wales in previous years and I'm sure this move will refresh the event for spectators and competitors alike.
"The spectacular scenery and landscapes of North Wales will provide the perfect backdrop for Wales Rally GB, which will be the pinnacle for the UK domestic rally season and an exciting finale for the high-profile World Rally Championship this year.
"It also shows the Welsh Government's continued commitment to Wales Rally GB, which has significant links with the automotive sector in Wales. Wales is home to around 150 component and systems manufacturing companies and has 15,000 people employed in automotive manufacturing with an annual turnover of £3 billion.”
Cllr Graham Rees, Cabinet Member, Conwy County Borough Council said: "We’ve been working closely with the organisers of Wales Rally GB over the last few months to secure the return of this prestigious sporting event to Conwy County Borough, and we’re very pleased that Llandudno and Conwy have been selected to host this event. Motor sport is very popular and, along with a large number of supporters, can attract considerable economic benefits to an area. I’m sure it will be a great success."
Ticketing details and more information on a special pre-sale offer can be found on the newly redesigned official website
Further announcements on the route and 2013 event will be made at a press conference in North Wales on 16-17 May with the Economy Minister, Edwina Hart.
Bring it on! We will be there to celebrate this great, revised and revitalised event... will you? 
See some images here.


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