The organisers of the Rally of Great Britain confirmed the route for this year's event today at the official launch of the 2009 edition in the Wales Millennium Centre near Cardiff Bay.

The main change for the event, as already known, concerns the shift to Cardiff, with the whole event now taking place in the Welsh Capital. Previously the service park had been at the SA1 Swansea Waterfront and prior to that outside Swansea at Felindre.

In total there will be 16 stages, three less than in 2008 - as the two runs through the short Walters Arena SSS have both been axed, along with the Cardiff Millennium Stadium super special.

However despite this change the entire route distance remains largely the same and is only around 1 kilometre shorter.

Other changes include revisions to Sweet Lamb, which will now see the test incorporate a river crossing and 'The Bowl' section, while the remote service zone on day 1 at Builth Wells will be open to spectators and under cover.

In addition, while Sunday's final leg will be shorter - 80 kilometres rather than around 95 km - there is no service to split the two runs through Port Talbot and Rheola, something that should help to ensure the final day is no formality.

Meanwhile the night stages, a popular feature over the last two years, have been all but dropped, although some runners are likely to tackle Halfway 2 on Saturday at dusk.

The full 2009 Rally of Great Britain itinerary is as follows - please note: the shakedown location has yet to be announced:

Thursday 22 October:

Shakedown TBA 08.00 - 12.00
Ceremonial start Cardiff 19.00

Friday 23 October:

Start Cardiff 06.00
SS1 Hafren 1 32.14km 09.25
SS2 Sweet Lamb 1 5.13km 10.06
SS3 Myherin 1 27.88km 10.24
RSZ A Builth Wells (15 mins) 12.07
SS4 Hafren 2 32.14km 13.34
SS5 Sweet Lamb 2 5.13km 14.15
SS6 Myherin 2 27.88km 14.33
Flexi Serv B Cardiff (45 mins) 18.21
Finish Cardiff 19.06

Total day 1 distance: 586.75 km (130.30 km competitive)
Sunrise: 07.51 / Sunset: 18.00

Saturday 24 October:

Start Cardiff 07.10
Serv C Cardiff (15 mins) 07.10
SS7 Rhondda 1 35.72km 08.33
SS8 Crychan 1 14.99km 10.31
SS9 Halfway 1 18.37km 10.58
Serv D Cardiff (30 mins) 13.18
SS10 Rhondda 2 35.72km 14.56
SS11 Crychan 2 14.99km 16.54
SS12 Halfway 2 18.37km 17.21
Flexi Serv E Cardiff (45 mins) 19.31
Finish Cardiff 20.19

Total day 2 distance: 589.19 km (138.16 km competitive)
Sunrise: 07.53 / Sunset: 17.58

Sunday 25 October:

Start Cardiff 07.10
Serv F Cardiff (15 mins)
SS13 Port Talbot 1 17.41km 08.28
SS14 Rheola 1 22.51km 09.27
SS15 Port Talbot 1 17.41km 10.58
SS16 Rheola 1 22.51km 11.57
Serv G Cardiff (10 mins) 13.45
Finish Cardiff 14.30

Total day 3 distance: 306.40 km (79.84 km competitive)
Sunrise: 0615 / Sunset: 16.56

Total event distance: 1482.34 km (348.30 km competitive)

all times local