Much has been made about Cardiff's shaky future as Rally GB host, and it looks increasingly likely that this September's event could be the last to run out of the Welsh capital.
Despite the success of last year's route, which took crews from north to south over four days, and included the return of classic stages such as Great Orme, Clocaenog and Dyfi, changes forced on the event for 2012 has meant further changes, with those stages being lost once again, despite the route still travelling the length of the principality.
The Builth Wells Royal Welsh Showground is no longer available for central service, due to a clash of dates with an agricultural event, meaning that there will be a remote service in Newtown before the rally heads on to Cardiff for the weekend. Among the new features is a spectator stage at the Celtic Manor resort, outside Newport, which will be held on Saturday evening but, with the 2012 event the result of a single-year contract extension between the Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff City Council, it could be a one-off before the rally heads north for 2013.
Various hosts have been mooted as replacement for Cardiff, including York, Newcastle, Gateshead and Carlisle, but RallyMax
believes that Sunderland holds the aces with the money ready and waiting to snatch the event even if the Welsh put in a renewed bid.