Within the first three weeks of entries opening for the 65th edition of Rally Great Britain, 22 of the 70 available places have already been filled, organisers confirmed this week.
The very first entry received was from Switzerland's Jean-Thierry Vacheron. He returns to RGB, the final round in the 2009 FIA World Rally Championship, for his third attempt driving a modified Peugeot 206.
“Among the early entries are competitors from 16 nations. The nearest team are from Ireland; the furthest travelled will be from Australia, Japan and New Zealand,” added a statement to the media.
“The son and father team of Kit and Tim Leigh, from Bristol were the keenest all-British crew; theirs was the second entry received.
“They will be driving a 2-litre Ford Fiesta on their first RGB. For co-driver Tim, who watched his first Rally GB in 1965, this year's event will realise a 44-year ambition to participate in one of the world's classic rallies.
“Wales's first entry is from Carmarthenshire's Ieuan Thomas. The 37 year old will navigate for Aberdeen's Dave Weston in a Subaru Impreza in the Production-car category. Thomas is one of the country's most talented co-drivers and recently partnered former British Rally champion David Higgins to victory on the third round of China's National Rally Championship.
“Living miles apart, but simultaneously heading for Cardiff Bay, is South Africa's Jon Williams and co-driver George Gwynn from Barnstable, North Devon. Driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, they are one of five 'Pirelli Star Driver' supported entries; a joint initiative by the FIA and Italian tyre giant Pirelli to find the next generation of World Rally Champions. RGB is the sixth and final event in a training programme which has taken them from Portugal to Wales, via world championship rallies in Italy, Greece, Finland and Spain.
“A reduced entry fee of £1,500 including VAT is on offer to amateur teams with 1.4-litre cars to encourage their participation in Britain's round of the FIA World Rally Championship. This incentive, now in its fifth consecutive year, will save them over £600 on the standard entry fee.
“The first 30 private entrants who submit their entry forms and fees will be guaranteed the opportunity of lining up in Cardiff alongside the world's best rally drivers for October's finale of the FIA World Rally Championship.”
The closing date for all entries is Wednesday 30th September.