As this year's Wales Rally GB - the final and deciding round of the 2011 World Rally Championship - draws to a close, Welsh Assembly Business Minister, Edwina Hart has announced a funding package of £1.4 million for the 2012 event.
Wales Rally GB, one of Wales' long standing flagship events, has been exclusively hosted in the country since 2000. Over the past decade, the rally has evolved and this year it has visited a far greater proportion of Wales than ever before.
“We are delighted to be able to extend our relationship with Wales for 2012, as we bring the event to an even greater audience and build on the success of the last decade in Wales,” said Andrew Coe, chief executive of Wales Rally GB's organiser, International Motor Sports Limited.
“This year's expanded route, which has seen the rally travel from Conwy in the north to Cardiff in the south, has seen over 160 cars entered on both the WRC round and the National event. We hope to keep bringing innovation and fresh thinking to the rally and are delighted that the Welsh Government has committed to joining us on this journey for 2012.”
The grant funding package will be made up of a guaranteed cash sum of up to £1.2 million and additional performance related payments of up to £200,000 linked to ticket sales and the generation of other commercial revenue including private sector sponsorship.
Hart will now attend the ceremonial finish presentation at Cardiff Castle today and will present the trophy to this year's Wales Rally GB winner.
“I'm pleased that we can announce this funding today and look forward to working with International Motor Sports on the 2012 event,” she added. “Wales Rally GB has the ability to engage with many communities throughout Wales during its week-long visit. The rally delivers benefits throughout Wales and has a strong tradition of involving volunteers from a wide range of groups. The organisers of Wales Rally GB have aimed to make the sport open and accessible to everyone.
“Developments such as the RallyFest events in Cardiff and north Wales are an added attraction for many. They have widened the Rally's appeal to reach beyond the motorsport enthusiast and are a welcome boost for retailers and accommodation providers at a quieter time of year.
“The value of the relationship between the staging of Wales Rally GB and Wales' automotive sector should not be underestimated. Wales Rally GB has significant links with the automotive sector in Wales, which is home to 150 component and systems manufacturing companies. It also has 30,000 people employed in automotive manufacturing, retail & maintenance, with a turnover of £3 billion annually. Wales is able to offer a wide portfolio of technology organisations and academic institutions currently working within the automotive arena.
“The rally provides an ideal platform for Wales to showcase its wide range of capabilities and technologies to the global automotive market. With the funding now in place, we can look forward to an even greater event in 2012.”