Exciting plans for this year's new-look Wales Rally GB, the UK?s season-ending round of the FIA World Rally Championship, were announced today (Friday) at a special event held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno.
The move to a new base in North Wales was confirmed last month; now event organiser International Motor Sports (IMS) has provided further details of a challenging new competitive route, the return of spectator stages aimed at delivering a full day's top class family entertainment plus a more affordable and flexible ticketing structure.
From its new base in Deeside, Flintshire, the 2013 Wales Rally GB will be won or lost over 24 competitive stages, more than half of which are either totally new or haven't been featured in the World Championship since the Nineties. Adding to the challenge and spectacle the opening three timed sections on Thursday evening will take place in darkness, a move that will find favour with the purists - as will the re-introduction of some classic Welsh forest stages in Snowdonia.
Making the event more attractive to the wider audience now within easy visiting distance of the rally, both Saturday's and Sunday's schedule will include a family-oriented "spectator stage" designed to bring the breath-taking action closer to the public. Details of these two very accessible venues will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
Providing a fitting finale not just to Wales Rally GB but also to the entire 2013 FIA World Rally Championship, the event will reach its climax with a blast around the Great Orme early on Sunday afternoon.
The details were announced at a special event at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, hosted by Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of IMS, with Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart.
Coe also revealed a completely revised ticketing structure, the result of extensive customer research. Prices of adult admittance to individual forest stages has been reduced to £15 (from £20 in 2012) while Day Passes have been re-introduced providing multiple stage access for just £33. Moreover both tickets include a free programme priced at £7.50. IMS is also extending its "Kids for a Quid" scheme providing those aged between 9-15 years old with a four-day ticket giving access to all 24 stages for just £1. Those aged 8 and under are admitted free. These remaining tickets will go on sale on Friday 7 June.
Sweet Lamb on Friday and the weekend's two spectator stages will be designated RallyFest Stages providing day-long family entertainment for all ages. As well as seeing the WRC stars and cars in action twice, RallyFest Stages will include a big screen, catering village, public address commentary, special displays, a Rally Dome, on-stage shows as well as other attractions. Individual tickets for these RallyFest Stages are priced at £25 with significant discounts available for families. The price for two adults and two children is £42 with an extra £1 for each additional child.
"Following our key new agreement with the Welsh Government, we had three major objectives," explained Coe. "We wanted to breathe fresh life into what's always been one of the World's great rallies; to create a fitting finale to the FIA World Rally Championship and to offer fans what they wanted. I'm confident we have delivered on all three fronts."
"The new base in Deeside and North Wales has allowed us to put together what's almost an entirely new event maximising some of the classic Welsh forest stages and introducing more family-friendly spectator stages. The re-introduction of night stages and the Great Orme will add to the challenge and spectacle while our totally revised ticketing policy offers increased flexibility as well as real value for money. Britain has always staged one of the truly great rounds on the World Championship calendar and the new-look Wales Rally GB will enhance the event's global reputation."
Coe also announced that two shorter National Rallies would run alongside Wales Rally GB offering amateur competitors the chance to compete on the same stages and use the same Service Park as the World Championship contenders. Also that IMS was offering a special deal for UK crews keen to enter the main international event. Crews with British passports plus MSA competition licences will benefit from a discounted £1500 entry fee, reduced from the standard £2600. This, on top of the previously announced "Road to Wales" initiative, which sees free entries to the international event being awarded to the leading drivers completing the MSA British Rally Championship, should guarantee attracting the best British crews back to the UK's premier rally event in 2013.
Minister for the Economy, Science and Transport Edwina Hart said the event could expect an enthusiastic welcome in North Wales. She said: "As one of our flagship events, the Welsh Government is committed to working with IMS to develop 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."
"I'm delighted to announce that in order to maximise the benefits of hosting the event in Wales, we will also organise events alongside the Rally. An industry awareness event for students will be held alongside the new Wales Rally GB Service Park in Deeside and we will also work with Welsh Automotive Forum to plan an automotive conference at Venue Cymru."
"The spectacular scenery and landscapes of North Wales and exciting challenges offered by the Welsh forests will provide the perfect backdrop for Wales Rally GB, we look forward to an exciting event this November."
18th May, 2013
Congratulations to Phil Hindley partnered by Andy Bull who have won this year's event conclusively in their incongruous looking Porsche 911 SC, over two minutes ahead of IRDC member Adrian Kermode and Sarah Bennett-Baggs also in a 911. John Spiers co-driven by Susanne Niedrum who swapped their mighty 4.7 TVR Griffin for a Porsche 911 SC to start the event successfully made the podium in third place a further two minutes adrift, thus giving the German marque the top-three monopoly; appropriately in the 911's 50th birthday year.
Melissa Raven and Jeremy Haylock Porsche 356 won the Regularity Category by just 0.10 second from Richard Dresner/Colin Mackenzie Jaguar XK150.
The part rally part race event tests the skills and versatility of drivers in the way the original Tour de France did during its running 1899-1986 and its popular UK equivalent of the 70's; the Tour of Britain.
12th May, 2013
The current leader board on the second day of 2013 Tour Britannia, Britain's version of the iconic French event 1899-1986, shows the redoubtable Porsche marque firmly in control yet again with Phil Hindley's 911 SC a minute ahead of the similar car of Manxman and rally specialist Adrian Kermode.
Hindley, winner of the 2012 Tour Britannia and its smaller autumnal brother the Mini Tour, has Andy Bull in the hot seat calling the bends and seasoned rallyman Kermode is relying on Sarah Baggs-Bennett; sometime Porsche racing driver for the pace notes.
1. Phil Hindley Andy Bull Porsche 911 SC
2. Adrian Kermode Sarah Bennett-Baggs Porsche 911 SC
3. John Spiers Susanne Niedrum TVR Griffith
4. John Sheldon Richard Kirby Ford Escort Mk1
5. Till Bechtolscheimer Joe Paterson Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint
6. Mike Smith Pete Thomas Ford Escort Mk1
7. Philip Dolby Mick Worrall Ford Escort RS
8. Joel Wykeham David Brown BMW 2002 Ti
9. Simon Tate Stuart Lawson Alfa Romeo
The last cars are due back at Rally HQ by about 1815 hours today with a little time to relax and dress for dinner before the prize giving and celebrations at the close of another unique and successful Tour Britannia.
11th May, 2013
In a well-organised media launch at Silverstone's impressive Wing pit complex anchored by former BBC formula one presenter Louise Goodman, the Silverstone Classic team outlined the amazing programme they have assembled for the 23rd running of the event: 26th - 28th July
With the theme of 'Rockin & Racing' the event dovetails top-flight live pop; synonymous with the sport with blue riband historic racing, thus catering for all tastes. From Grand Prix Cars of all ages to Group C Prototypes, Historic Formula Ford to Saloon Cars, iconic Formula 5000 to World Sports Cars, Formula Junior to Touring Cars.
Working with their event partners; the AA, BMW, Chopard watches and Piper Heidsieck champagne, the Silverstone team has put together a three day itinerary that must rank the Classic in the top three global Historic racing festivals.
Whilst the on-track action is underway, Silverstone's infield will host all the major UK one-make car clubs with Aston Martin celebrating its centenary and Porsche the 50th birthday of its coolest of cool - 911.
If that's not enough, 'Fly to the Past' a collection of charismatic historic aircraft will be making appearances and passenger balloon flights, a traditional fun fair and the Red Devils parachute team are dropping in; oh, and if you want a safer aerial view of the circuit there's the 40M high BMW eye! On the concert stage, groups currently confirmed include Floyd Reloaded, the Hollies and Guns & Roses and doubtless there'll be one or two well-known motor sporting personalities jamming along with them.
For the moment, the Classic's rally-related activities are centered on the Silverstone Rally Experience site at the circuit where paid runs are available over the three days of the Classic, but plans for future Festivals and the possibility of a better rally related presence are currently work in progress with organisers Goose Communications; watch this space.
For more details go to: www.silverstoneclassic.com
10th May, 2013