Entries opened for the Wales Rally GB on Friday, with 120 places available for professional and amateur crews.

The Cardiff-based event has, measured by the number of entries received, long been the most popular event in the World Rally Championship and the organisers have again committed to giving both professional and amateur drivers, both from within the UK and overseas, the opportunity to compete.

Indeed while the rally will attract the fastest and most spectacular World Rally Cars, organisers also encourage drivers with more modestly powered 1400cc cars to participate with a reduced entry fee of ?1402 plus VAT. The standard entry fee is ?1,914 plus VAT.

The lower entry fee applies to classes N1 and A5 when the entry is made prior to the closing date of Friday October 31.

In addition, the first 40 amateur drivers who submit their entry form and fee before the closing date will be guaranteed a place in the line-up which, this year, is expected to include at least 12 'Priority 1' manufacturer team drivers.

With the introduction of a Pirelli control tyre for this year's WRC, the rally organisers will be providing 12 vouchers (four per day), each with a face value of 63 Euros, towards the purchase of tyres for non-priority drivers in 4WD Production cars entered in Class N4.

Several leading drivers meanwhile have welcomed the return of the fast and flowing gravel roads in Hafren, Myherin and Sweet Lamb forests near Llangurig in Powys.

Each of these famous special stages will be run twice and feature a mixture of classic rally routes as well as new sections, offering rally crews a refreshing change to the format of Friday's first full day of competition on December 5.

"I think it will be fantastic to use the mid Wales stages this year and they are sure to provide even more excitement to the last round of the Championship which is looking likely to go right down the wire," said Stobart Ford's Matt Wilson.

"The Wales Rally GB stages are amongst some of the best gravel tests in the WRC and for me personally it will be a great challenge to compete on these famous stages where, as I child, I watched some of the best drivers in the world do battle.

"Moving into a new area will also hopefully increase spectator numbers which will definitely help my home World Rally Championship event - and it's always a wonderful feeling to see the Union Flags and the fans cheering on both myself and the British Stobart team."

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