NEWS: Wales Rally GB 2014 Unveiled
The route and dates for Wales Rally GB 2014 has been unveiled – and features some brand new special stages, including "a spectacular new Power Stage" and even better; more night stages (22 SS miles in total!).
And, in addition to two top-flight Brits in action in the UK's WRC round with Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke, the organisers also promise:
• World class action in the legendary Welsh forests on 23 special stages
• Improved family-friendly RallyFests at Chirk Castle and Kinmel Park – now ticket only affairs (after some minor issues with crowd control in 2013)
• FREE access to Service Park and Ceremonial Start and Finish
Wales Rally GB organisers say: "The year’s Wales Rally GB (13-16 November) will build on the huge success of last year’s revitalised event. In 2013 a move to north Wales proved to be a huge draw for both fans and competitors, attracting record numbers of spectators plus a full capacity entry from right around the globe.
"Not resting on those laurels, November’s revised route – announced today (11 June) – features a more compact and fan-friendly three-day schedule comprising all the classic ingredients that make Wales Rally GB such a fitting finale to the season-long FIA World Rally Championship.
"The concluding round of the 2014 WRC will be fought out over 23 competitive Special Stages totalling 191.27 miles (307.82 km). To meet the event’s spiralling popularity every effort has been made to ensure that these stages have the best possible spectator access, based out of the widely-praised new Service Park in Deeside.
"The majority of the exhilarating timed sections are set on some of the world’s finest rally tracks in the legendary Welsh forests, while two stages held in darkness on Saturday evening will increase both the challenge and spectacle. Night stages were re-introduced last year and have been increased for 2014 (from around 15 to 22 competitive miles).
"The itinerary on both Saturday and Sunday includes a family-friendly RallyFest event designed to provide families and casual rally fans with the opportunity to experience the excitement of world championship action in more accommodating surroundings with enhanced facilities.
"With building works underway on Conwy Quay, the Thursday evening Ceremonial Start has moved to the Eirias Park Stadium in Colwyn Bay – a venue that is used to hosting top class sports events and outdoor concerts. Entry to Eirias Park will be free and will also feature the popular pre-event autograph session with the world’s leading drivers in attendance.
"The dramatic high-speed action then blasts off early Friday morning to familiar Wales Rally GB territory close to Machynlleth. A long, challenging day in mid-Wales features double runs through the well-known Gartheiniog, Dyfi, Hafren Sweet Lamb and Maesnant stages, either side of a remote service in central Newtown.
"Saturday’s action is closer to Deeside providing easier access for weekend fans travelling from Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands. The schedule includes two spectacular stages in the famous Clocaenog forest plus morning and afternoon runs through Aberhirnant and Dyfnant – the final two after sunset. Before that the competitors return to the mid-day service in Deeside via Chirk Castle close to Wrexham for the first of the two RallyFest stages.
"The picturesque Chirk Castle proved so popular when introduced last year that the number of spectators trying to access the venue created serious traffic and other issues. Responding to these, the organisers have created a completely revised traffic management system, increased parking and enhanced spectator facilities to ensure a truly family-friendly experience. Moreover admittance this year will be by advanced ticket only, which will help to control numbers and assist with event planning.
"The rally will conclude on Sunday with another RallyFest Stage at Kinmel Park, easily accessible from the A55, plus two challenging new stages in north Wales: Alwen and Brenig. The final run through the breathtaking scenery of Brenig is the event’s dramatic, concluding Power Stage for which extra points are awarded. It could be the 2014 world championship title decider, too.
"As last year, the winners will be crowned on Mostyn Street in Llandudno. Access to both official Start and Finish Ceremonies will be open to the public and totally free, as is admittance to the Service Park in Deeside."
World Rally Passes are already on sale priced at £99 and will provide access to all 23 special stages including the RallyFests at both Chirk Castle and Kinmel Park. Prices for day Forest Passes, RallyFests and individual stage access will be confirmed when they go on sale later in the year.
“Wales Rally GB is one of the truly great rounds on the world championship calendar,” said Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Wales Rally GB. “We are determined to build on the success of last year and ensure that this year’s rally brings the excitement to even more people.
“The 2014 event has been put together with the interests of both competitors and spectators in mind. We believe that this will provide a challenging test for the drivers and some fantastic viewing opportunities for the fans,” promised Taylor.
“It is fair to say that we were caught out last year by the sheer number of people wanting to get into the stages; we haven’t had that problem for many years. My message to everyone is that we have learned the lessons, we will have robust plans in place, and by going ticket-only on the RallyFest stages we will have a better control on the numbers. As ever, the best value will be in the World Rally Pass which gives access to everything, but we will set a limit on the number of these available.
“For the first time in many years, we have two British drivers – Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke – at the forefront of the sport, so there is every likelihood that this will one of the best ever Wales Rally GBs.”
Welsh Government Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart, said: “We look forward to building on the success of last year’s revitalised event which provided the region with a multi-million pound boost, attracted thousands of spectators and was watched by 600 million viewers world wide. I’m delighted that the return of the Rally to north Wales was such a success with both spectators and competitors alike. The RallyFest stages set against stunning backdrops such as Chirk Castle proved to be a big hit and extended the appeal of the Rally. We look forward to another Rally of Legends in November.”
2014 WALES RALLY GB
Thursday 13 November:
18:30 Ceremonial Start: Eirias Park, Colwyn Bay
Overnight Deeside Service Park
Friday 14 November:
07:44 SS1: Gartheiniog 1 (same route as 2013)
08:14 SS2: Dyfi 1 (same route as 2013)
09:26 SS3: Hafren Sweet Lamb 1 (similar to 2012)
09:59 SS4: Maesnant 1 (new stage using parts of 2013 Hafren stage)
11:23 Remote service: Newtown
13:07 SS5: Gartheiniog 2
13:37 SS6: Dyfi 2
14:49 SS7: Hafren Sweet Lamb 2
15:22 SS8: Maesnant 2
18:35 Service: Deeside Service Park
Overnight Deeside Service Park
Saturday 15 November:
07:48 SS9: Clocaenog East 1 (revised route and reversed from 2013)
08:05 SS10: Clocaenog Main 1 (new stage)
09:13 SS11: Aberhirnant 1 (revised route and reverse direction of 2013 Penllyn stage)
10:09 SS12: Dyfnant 1 (reverse direction of 2013)
11:59 SS13: Chirk Castle (same as 2013)
13:32 Service: Deeside Service Park
15:05 SS14: Clocaenog East 2
15:22 SS15: Clocaenog Main 2
16:30 SS16: Aberhirnant 2
17:26 SS17: Dyfnant 2
20:11 Service: Deeside Service Park
Overnight: Deeside Service Park
Sunday 16 November:
08:35 SS18: Brenig 1 (new stage)
09:02 SS19: Alwen 1 (new stage using tracks last used on the 1993 Network Q RAC Rally)
09:57 SS20: Kinmel Park 1 (similar to 2013)
10:05 SS21: Kinmel Park 2
10:55 SS22: Alwen 2
12:00 SS23: Brenig 2 (Power Stage)
13:20 Ceremonial Finish: Mostyn Street, Llandudno
Bring it on!
And read our special issue from last year's event FREE here... to get you in the mood.