Rallye Deutschland will include a night stage next year, it has been announced. It is the first time the German event has run a test in the dark since gaining WRC status.

The inclusion of the night test near Sauertal - stage length to be confirmed - is one of a number of changes to the Thursday itinerary. Indeed in total there will be two stages on August 22, with one also near Blankenheim.

Meanwhile the location for the ceremonial start has also been shifted, with Cologne now taking over from Trier's Porta Nigra. The rest of the event will remain similar to recent editions with the usual tests in the greater Trier area on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (August 23-25).

"We are very pleased that the ADAC Rallye Deutschland will depart from Cologne for the first time," said Hermann Tomczyk, ADAC vice-president sport. "By having the launch in a major city, we hope to attract the broadest possible audience and kindle their enthusiasm for rally racing.

"Since Cologne is also a city of the media, it is ideally suited to proactively attract the attention of rally fans world-wide to the German WRC event.

"For the nitty-gritty of rally-racing, however, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland will remain true to the popular Special Stages in the greater Trier Region. This mix will be perfect both for the fans and the rally drivers."

J?rgen Roters, Lord Mayor of the City of Cologne, added: "For a sports-loving city like Cologne, the ADAC Rallye Deutschland as a FIA WRC event is a great and welcome addition to the schedule. We are looking forward to an extraordinary sporting event.

"The citizens of Cologne will bid the international rally-racing elite an enthusiastic welcome. I am quite confident that Cologne will be the perfect stage for launching the ADAC Rallye Deutschland."