Exciting plans for this year’s new-look Wales Rally GB, the UK’s season-ending round of the FIA World Rally Championship, have been unveiled.
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.”
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."
The Minister also announced that the Welsh Government is also currently producing a Directory of companies involved in motorsport activities and supply chain, which will show the breadth and capabilities of motor sport companies in Wales along with the value of activities. The directory is due to be published in July 2013.
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