International Motor Sports, the organiser of Wales Rally GB, has announced that six front-runners from the 2013 MSA British Rally Championship will receive free entries into the WRC season closer this November.
The deal has come about as part of an 'exciting new partnership' between IMS and the BRC.
“The far-reaching collaboration between the UK's round of the globe-trotting FIA World Rally Championship and this country's premier national rally championship will form an integral part of IMS's latest the 'Road to Wales' initiative – a targeted activity promoting Wales Rally GB including special displays at major events such as the renowned Cholmondeley Pageant of Power (14-16 June) and Castle Combe's popular Rallyday (21 September),” read a joint statement to the media.
The top three finishers in the overall BRC championship as well as class winners in both British Junior and RallyTwo Rally categories will all be offered free entries into WRGB.
Additionally the winner of the NGK Spark Plugs BRC Challenge will be awarded a free entry into the National Rally that runs alongside the WRC event in the legendary Welsh Forests. The free entries will be transferable to the next highest finishers should the winning crews not be able to attend.
“It's every rally driver's dream to compete on the world championship stage and we are thrilled to be helping the top performers from the British Rally Championship to make that step up into the big time,” explained Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of IMS. “While there are, of course, other significant costs involved, hopefully the provision of these free entries will be a big incentive as we'd like to see all the front-runners from our top national championship furthering their careers by competing in what's the sport's biggest event in this country.
“After all that's how future champions such as Colin McRae and Richard Burns earned their spurs and came to prominence.”
Coe is keen to emphasise that the provision of free entries into Wales Rally GB is just one aspect of a wide-ranging new affiliation between IMS and the BRC.
“By working together we can really make a difference in promoting rallying within the UK,” continued Coe. “The exciting partnership includes a comprehensive programme of joint advertising, database, social media and other marketing schemes that will benefit all involved in the sport as well as forming a key component in our overall 'Road to Wales' campaign.”
Mark Taylor, managing director of the MSA British Rally Championship, also welcomed the new partnership: "The WRGB roadshow will be attending some of the BRC events taking the opportunity to talk to marshals, officials as well as competitors and fans,” he added.
“Let's not kid ourselves, the winning drivers will still need to find some more budget to enter Wales Rally GB, but thanks to Pirelli and Citroen
who have kindly assisted in support with cash prizes and tyres, the additional costs are much less than what they would normally be.
“The Road to Wales leads to an end of season finale, an aspirational pinnacle for our champion drivers and co-drivers. I hope the rally community gets behind the scheme – let's showcase and celebrate the very best of our home grown talent to the rest of the world.”