Organisers of the British round of the FIA World Rally Championship confirmed the route today for the 2014 event.
This year's Wales Rally GB will again be based at the new service park in Deeside and will include 23 stages, the majority of which will be 'set on some of the world's finest rally tracks in the legendary Welsh forests'. There will also be two night stages on Saturday evening. Night stages were re-introduced last year on Wales Rally GB and have been increased for 2014 from around 15 to 22 competitive miles. In total the route will include 191.27 competitive miles (307.82 km).
“Wales Rally GB is one of the truly great rounds on the world championship calendar,” said Ben Taylor, managing director of Wales Rally GB. “We are determined to build on the success of last year and ensure that this year's rally brings the excitement to even more people."
“The 2014 event has been put together with the interests of both competitors and spectators in mind. We believe that this will provide a challenging test for the drivers and some fantastic viewing opportunities for the fans,” Taylor promised.
The event will kick off on Thursday evening with the ceremonial start moved to the Eirias Park Stadium in Colwyn Bay as building works are underway on Conwy Quay.
The action then begins 'proper' early on Friday morning with stages in the familiar Wales Rally GB territory close to Machynlleth. It features double runs through the well-known Gartheiniog, Dyfi, Hafren Sweet Lamb and Maesnant stages, either side of a remote service in central Newtown.
Saturday's action is closer to Deeside providing easier access for weekend fans travelling from Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands. The schedule includes two stages in the Clocaenog forest plus morning and afternoon runs through Aberhirnant and Dyfnant – the final two after sunset.
Before that the competitors return to the mid-day service in Deeside via Chirk Castle close to Wrexham for the first of the two RallyFest stages.
“The picturesque Chirk Castle proved so popular when introduced last year that the number of spectators trying to access the venue created serious traffic and other issues. Responding to these, organisers have created a completely revised traffic management system, increased parking and enhanced spectator facilities to ensure a truly family-friendly experience. Moreover admittance this year will be by advanced ticket only, which will help to control numbers and assist with event planning,” read a release to the media.
The rally will conclude on Sunday with another RallyFest Stage at Kinmel Park, plus two new stages in north Wales: Alwen and Brenig, the latter also acting as the concluding Power Stage for which extra bonus points are awarded.
As last year, the winners will be crowned on Mostyn Street in Llandudno.
Access to both official start and finish ceremonies will be open to the public and totally free, as is admittance to the service park in Deeside.
“It is fair to say that we were caught out last year by the sheer number of people wanting to get into the stages; we haven't had that problem for many years,” Taylor added. “My message to everyone is that we have learned the lessons, we will have robust plans in place, and by going ticket-only on the RallyFest stages we will have a better control on the numbers. As ever, the best value will be in the World Rally Pass which gives access to everything, but we will set a limit on the number of these available.
“For the first time in many years, we have two British drivers – Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke – at the forefront of the sport, so there is every likelihood that this will one of the best ever Wales Rally GBs.”
World Rally Passes are already on sale priced at £99 and will provide access to all 23 special stages including the RallyFests at both Chirk Castle and Kinmel Park.
Prices for day Forest Passes, RallyFests and individual stage access will be confirmed when they go on sale later in the year.
A full breakdown of the route for 2014 is available HERE