Interim results from one of the most successful Wales Rally GB events on record have prompted economy minister Edwina Hart to announce funding for the next two years.
The 2013 Wales Rally GB provided the region with a multi-million pound boost, attracted thousands of spectators and was watched by 600m television viewers world wide. Hart's announcement is aimed at replicating this success in the 2014 and 2015 events.
“Wales Rally GB is one of our flagship events which gets worldwide coverage, so I am particularly pleased that efforts to revitalise the event and attract more spectators and entries are paying off,” she said.
“The people of north- and mid-Wales are incredibly supportive of the event and local authorities and businesses have all reported increased economic activity in the area due to the rally. We want to maximise the benefits coming to Wales and build on this momentum, which is why I have agreed in principle funding for Wales Rally GB over the next two years.”
The Welsh Government will provide up to £1.5m per annum to support the staging of the rally in 2014 and 2015, subject to evaluating the impact of the events against agreed targets.
"We are, of course, absolutely delighted for the on-going commitment from the Welsh Government,” Andrew Coe, chief executive of rally organiser International Motor Sports, said, “The move to a new base in north Wales really revitalised the event in 2013 and we are already making exciting plans to build on that success with an even bigger and better Wales Rally GB in November.
“What's more we now also have the fillip of a top Welsh driver, Elfyn Evans, competing in a front-running world championship team and that's another major boost both for Wales Rally GB and the sporting scene in Wales."
In addition to the guarantee of funding, Hart added that the Welsh Government will also support an automotive conference and student industry awareness day in 2014 and 2015 to run alongside the Rally and a reprint of the Motor Sport Directory to promote Welsh businesses in the sector.