Rally GB launched in Cardiff

Organisers are hoping that this year's Rally of Great Britain will be 'bigger and better' than ever before, despite the fact an agreement has yet to be reached with the Welsh Assembly Government.

The event, the final round in the 2009 World Rally Championship, was officially launched today (Wednesday, July 22) at the Wales Millennium Centre near Cardiff Bay, a week later than first scheduled.

The 65th Rally GB hasn't had the easiest of build-ups and after the Welsh Assembly Government revealed that it was pulling its backing before the end of its contract there was speculation it could be cancelled.

Last month though the MSA, the governing body of UK motorsport, confirmed that it would underwrite the costs of running it, thus safeguarding the 2009 event, which runs from October 22-25.

However the decision by WAG to end its sponsorship led to International Motor Sports - the commercial subsidiary of the MSA - launching legal action. Since then talks have taken placed between IMS and WAG, but as yet no resolution has been agreed.

Speaking in the Rally of Great Britain media launch press pack - note the Wales Rally GB tag is absence - Andrew Coe, chief executive of IMS, made no reference to the on-going row with WAG.

Despite that though he seemed upbeat about the 65th edition and he is definitely happy with the decision to base the 2009 rally entirely in Cardiff and not split it between the Welsh Capital and Swansea.

"We are delighted to launch this year's Rally of Great Britain and hope that the event will be bigger and better than ever," said Coe.

"For 2009, Rally HQ and the Service Park will be based in Cardiff, which means that not only will the hub of rally activity be easily accessible for visitors but it will create a fantastic atmosphere within the vibrant Welsh capital."

Meanwhile Cardiff Council's executive member for sport, culture and leisure, Cllr Nigel Howells, added that he is also excited about the prospect of the service park being based at Cardiff Bay for the first time.

"I am delighted that the Rally of Great Britain will be based in Cardiff this year. The city is now recognised as a leading sports venue that has first class sporting facilities.

"I am sure Rally fans will enjoy their visit to the capital city and the atmosphere is sure to be electric.

"I hope everyone that comes along will get a chance to explore all Cardiff has to offer," he added.

Tagged as: Wales , launch

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