WALES RALLY GB: NEW BASE and ROUTE

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