by Rob Wilkins.

Colin McRae's former co-driver, Nicky Grist was one of the guests at the launch of the 2007 Wales Rally GB on Tuesday. Crash.net Radio's Rob Wilkins spoke to him about the event, which takes place on November 30 to December 2...

Q:
Nicky, it was confirmed today that there will definitely be two night stages on the Rally GB this year. What are your thoughts on the route for the 2007 event?

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Nicky Grist:
The route itself hasn't changed that much. It is all very similar too what competitors have been used to over the last few years. But the last stage on day one and the second to last stage on day two are in the dark and that could throw up a few surprises.

Certainly the drivers' are not used to driving at night anymore and there are very few rallies in the WRC that hold any night stages too. So that will make it interesting.

Of course the one thing you can never under estimate though is the wonderful Welsh weather. You could get anything - you could get rain, snow, fog, ice, anything could be thrown at the drivers and the combination of those dark stages and maybe the mix of some 'great' Welsh weather could make a big, big difference on the leader-board.

You cannot under estimate the capabilities of the modern spotlights that they carry on the cars though. These cars now have got spotlights that are probably twenty times better than the average road car. So, these drivers' are going to be seeing quite a lot of the scenery as they flash by.

Q:
Will the night tests throw up a few surprises then?

NG:
Well it could do. But somebody, unless they have a complete disaster, will probably not necessarily lose too much.

You have always got to remember though that on the last day of the event you go down into Brechfa, where there are two of the longest stages of the rally used twice. Historically these two stages really have thrown up a few surprises and the current leader of the world championship, Marcus Gronholm, he has fallen foul there before as well. So you can never underestimate what can happen in Brechfa.

Furthermore even if you do lose a few seconds on either the first or second day stages in the dark, I think, you have got the chance to pull that back on the Sunday. I believe that Brechfa is the real sting in the tail. You can never say you have won the rally until you have got through those two stages, which are used twice.

Q:
Another change for this year's Rally GB concerns the service park and the move to a new site in the SA1 Swansea Waterfront. What do you think of that?

NG:
I think it is a very positive move, because Felindre, while it was ideal, right on the side of the M4, it wasn't the nicest of service parks aesthetically. Certainly SA1 will be a marked difference.

To get the service area into the middle of Swansea or very close to the centre of Swansea is going to be a bonus, because it is very easy for any shoppers or any enthusiasts literally just to walk from the town centre. It is going to be quite a nice backdrop. When the cars disappear the fans and so on can go off up into Swansea city and do some shopping or do whatever they want! They are right in the vibrant city and they are right on the side of the sea as well.

Q:
It is very close in the WRC at the moment, with Marcus Gronholm and Sebastien Loeb battling for the title. That could make things very exciting in Wales, for the season finale, couldn't it?

NG:
It really does make it interesting. Marcus needs to make a difference on the remaining gravel events though because he knows that there are four tarmac rallies to go and Sebastien is the undoubted favourite on those events. He is just unbeatable on tarmac. OK, you can never say, 'never' - and you never know what could happen, especially with the car, it could break down...

By the time we get to Rally GB we could have a fight right down to the wire for the title. That would be a wonderful end to the championship, especially for Wales Rally GB.

Q:
I know it is a long way to go, but have you got any predictions for this year's championship - and of course, for this year's Rally GB?

NG:
Well there are really only two drivers' who can win the title - it is going to be between Marcus and Sebastien, obviously. To be honest with four tarmac events coming up, which are probably going to go Sebastien's way, I think Marcus is really going to have to pull his socks up on those events. He has really got to try and keep within, certainly, one place of Sebastien, to stop him running away with it. I would say my money is on Sebastien yet again, but knowing Marcus, he is never a guy to give up. He is going to be fighting right the way down to the wire.