As Wales declares 2017 as its ‘Year of Legends’, few events will epitomise that status better than Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October), Britain’s revered round of the FIA World Rally Championship.
Indeed, this autumn’s eagerly-anticipated event – the competitive route for which is announced today (Wednesday) – is all set to be one of the most exciting, appealing and unmissable in the rally’s long-running history.
Fuelling the excitement is a new generation of dramatic WRC rally cars which are delivering one of the most unpredictable and fiercely-fought championships in living memory. This season’s first six rounds have produced no fewer than four different winners and the nail-biting title race is likely to have entered a critical phase come the penultimate round here in Britain at the end of October.
There’s strong British interest, too. Back in March, Kris Meeke won in Mexico and the Ulsterman has twice previously been on the podium in Wales. More recently, local Welsh hero Elfyn Evans came within a split-second of winning his first WRC round in Argentina in April.
Last year’s move to an earlier date in October not only delivered better autumnal weather conditions for crews and spectators but also coincided with schools’ half-term break giving many families the chance to enjoy some top class, world championship entertainment over the holiday period. With a similar date in 2017, accompanied children aged 15 and under are again offered free admission to all the ticketed Special Stages.
The majority of these thrilling speed tests will be run against-the-clock on demanding gravel roads set in the legendary Welsh forests. However, adding to challenge and spectacle, the modified 2017 route reintroduces the thrill of two night stages in the daunting Dyfnant and Aberhirnant forests run after dark on Saturday evening.
Saturday’s schedule also includes a return of the family-friendly RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle. Its introduction was one of the many highlights of last year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB with 10,000 visitors enjoying a full day of memorable entertainment, culminating in the mid-afternoon arrival of the WRC stars and cars – a hugely successful format that will be further enhanced in 2017.
In total the 20 Special Stages offer in excess of 300 competitive kilometres (180 miles) with a fast-moving schedule featuring many of the established Welsh classics: mythical names such as Hafren, Myherin, Dyfi and Gartheiniog are all included.
The premier league WRC teams again will be based at the Deeside Rally Village, in the grounds of the Toyota UK engine manufacturing plant. While admittance to the Rally Village is totally free, tickets for the gripping action are now on sale, with savings for those booking in advance compared to on-the-day.
Since relocating to Deeside in 2013, this world-class sporting spectacle has gone from strength-to-strength. Last year it attracted more than 90,000 visitors, an impressive 150 car entry, international crews from 24 different countries and delivered almost £9m of economic benefit to the Welsh economy as well as extensive global TV and media coverage.
The 2016 event also welcomed a new title partner – Dayinsure, one of the UK’s leading providers of temporary vehicle insurance – as well as on-going support from Conwy County Borough Council. Such was the success of these two affiliations that Dayinsure has recently announced a title partnership extension for the next two years while Conwy has renewed its role as official Host County for 2017.
As a result, several of the exhilarating competitive stages are set in Conwy County’s famous forests while the event’s high-profile Ceremonial Start and Ceremonial Finish will take place in the county.
For the past four years, top honours have gone to the reigning world champion Sébastien Ogier and now the Frenchman stands on the threshold of making history as no driver has ever clocked up five Rally GB victories. An unprecedented fifth win would indeed create a new ‘legend’.
Tickets now on sale
Tickets for the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB go on sale today (Wednesday 24 May) and offer savings for those buying in advance. Even more so for those with school children on half-term holidays as all aged 15 and under enjoy free admittance when accompanied by an adult.
While ticket prices in line with those of 2016, in response to customer feedback, booking fees are now included to remove any ‘hidden costs’. When purchased online in advance, an adult Day Pass now costs just £28 and gives access to all stages on the selected day. For simplicity, these electronic tickets can either be printed out at home or scanned via a mobile device on arrival at appropriate car parks.
Admission to Saturday’s fun-fuelled RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle is either included in a Saturday Day Pass (£28) or with a separate RallyFest ticket available online in advance for £23. Once again, as with all other special stages, accompanied children aged 15 and under get in for free, making this a great half-term destination for families.
The price of the premium four-day World Rally Pass, providing access to all the Special Stages as well as Thursday’s pre-event Shakedown, has been held at £99 for the eighth year. Befitting the value of this prestigious ticket, fans will receive their hard pass and lanyard by post as well as a special car pass that offers exclusive on-site parking at the Deeside Rally Village.
Fans can still turn up on the day of the event and pay on the gate – entry to each individual stage will be priced at £30 – but organisers recommend that the cheapest way to enjoy the action is to buy in advance. Whether purchased online or on the day, all tickets include free car parking plus an event programme worth £9.
Two distinct hospitality options are also available; the first at Sweet Lamb on Friday, the second at Cholmondeley Castle on Saturday.
Priced at £120, special tickets for Rally Xtra @ Sweet Lamb offer fans an attractive upgrade opportunity by providing a morning bacon roll, hearty hot lunch, dedicated parking, premium toilet facilities, free tea and coffee, pay bar, commentary, wi-fi and a private viewing area within the Sweet Lamb bowl.
The superior hospitality pavilion at the following day’s RallyFest is located on pole position, adjacent to the Dayinsure Donut focal point around which all the cars must complete a rubber-burning 360-degree spin turn. Tickets cost £240 and include VIP dining, guest appearances by rally legends plus a host of other additional attractions.
Encouraging everyone in the region to experience and enjoy the presence of a premier league world championship motor sport event in north Wales, access to the Deeside Rally Village, the Start and Finish Ceremonies, the regroup in Newtown and the visit to Chester on Friday evening are, once again, totally free of charge.
Full details of all Wales Rally GB tickets – including terms and conditions – can be found on the official www.walesrallygb.com website.
Ben Taylor, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Managing Director:
“After the big success of last year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB, we are really excited to announce our plans for this October – an event that certainly will live up to its legendary status.
“The arrival of a new generation of more exciting cars has really caught the public’s imagination and we are expecting them to draw even bigger crowds when they make their UK debut in the autumn.
“Rallying here in the UK is in great shape at the moment. We have Kris Meeke and Elfyn Evans right in the mix for WRC victories plus a revitalised British Rally Championship developing the stars of tomorrow.
“Having had such a great event in 2016, we have fabulous foundations for 2017. So we have stuck by the majority of the route but now with the added bonus of challenging night stages – always a big hit with both drivers and fans.
“Two of last year’s biggest successes were the new RallyFest stage at Cholmondeley Castle and our visit to Chester on Friday night, both of which will be back in 2017 to attract thousands of fans again.
“Of course, the whole event would not be possible without the continued support of our partners, principally the Welsh Government, our principal funding partner, our title partner Dayinsure, our host county Conwy County Borough Council and all the other authorities and organisations who make it possible to bring a World Championship event to the region. With their enthusiastic support, there’s no doubt that the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB will be another resounding success.”
Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure:
“This year’s Wales Rally GB promises to be another spectacular event and a fitting way to draw Wales’ Year of Legends to a close. Wales is home to some of the world’s most legendary rally stages – the event is our opportunity to showcase the epic Welsh landscapes and scenery as some of the legends of the sport test their skills against what the Welsh landscape throws at them.”
Jane Richardson, Strategic Director Economy & Place, Conwy County Borough Council:
“We are thrilled once again to be the Host County for such a prestigious World event. Events are a key part of the Council’s strategy to raise the profile of what a fantastic place Conwy County is to visit. Last year’s rally attracted 16,000 people between Llandudno and Colwyn Bay for the opening and closing ceremonies and we simply couldn’t afford to buy the worldwide media coverage that comes with it. So we’re excited to continue this valuable relationship with Wales Rally GB which provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Conwy County”.
Dennis Ryan, Dayinsure Founder and Chairman:
“Partnering a world championship motor sport event was a totally new opportunity for Dayinsure, but the decision exceeded all of our expectations on many fronts – hence our enthusiasm to extend our involvement.
“The availability of temporary vehicle insurance remains something of a new concept for many in the UK, and this partnership with Wales Rally GB provides us with the perfect platform to promote not only the availability of such short-term cover but also its simplicity. The cars look amazing and this year’s route certainly has all the right ingredients to be another classic – that’s why we are so looking forward to the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.”
Thursday, 26 October 2017
Fans get their first chance to experience the dramatic new-era WRC cars in thrilling high-speed action during the official pre-event Shakedown held in Clocaenog Forest on Thursday morning. Teams will be based in Ruthin – just a short drive from the Deeside Rally Village – and will be making their final preparations for the three days of supreme competition laying ahead.
Friday, 27 October 2017
The competition blasts off in spectacular style with classic speed tests in the legendary forests of mid-Wales. The opening day’s schedule features three Special Stages, all set to the east of Aberystwyth. Myherin and Hafren are world-renowned as true classics while, with its jumps and water splashes, the shorter Sweet Lamb test is always a fans’ favourite.
All three stages are tackled twice – once either side of a lunchtime regroup on the busy streets of Newtown before the cars head back to service, stopping off en route in Chester to meet the fans.
Saturday, 28 October 2017
Saturday’s schedule is even longer and, concluding under the cloak of darkness, no less challenging. The morning’s itinerary takes the competitors to the famous forests of southern Snowdonia, just to the north of Machynlleth.
Gartheiniog and Dyfi are two more demanding stages that will push crews to their limits and provide fans with some outstanding viewing opportunities. Once again the WRC teams will tackle both tests twice before heading east to the day’s fifth Special Stage in Dyfnant Forest in the periphery of the Cambrian Mountains en route to the family-friendly RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle.
After a service to fit lights, Saturday’s hectic timetable concludes with two stages held in darkness. The first is a return to the Dyfnant section run earlier in the day, the second a one-off sprint through the superfast Aberhirnant Forest, close to Bala.
Sunday, 29 October 2017
Sunday’s concluding day is set entirely in north Wales. The well-known Brenig and Alwen stages introduced in recent years feature again as well as the Gwydyr Forest in Snowdonia which returns to the route for the first time since 2013. All three stages will be run twice with the second run through Brenig being the event’s concluding ‘Power Stage’, screened live to TV audiences around the globe.
As in 2016, the first half of the Brenig stage is set alongside the picturesque reservoir, however the final few miles have been revised to provide even better viewing areas below the dam and close to the Brenig Visitor Centre for those wishing to witness the grueling event’s grand finale and TV podium presentations.
The official celebrations then switch to Mostyn Street in Llandudno for the Ceremonial Finish and prize-giving, providing the public with a final free-of-charge opportunity to savour the magic of the FIA World Rally Championship’s annual adventure in Wales.
2017 DAYINSURE WALES RALLY GB ROUTE
Thursday 26 October:
Ceremonial Start: County Conwy
Friday 27 October:
SS1: Myherin 1
SS2: Sweet Lamb 1
SS3: Hafren 1
SS4: Myherin 2
SS5: Sweet Lamb 2
SS6: Hafren 2
Service: Deeside Rally Village
Saturday 28 October:
SS7: Dyfi 1
SS8: Gartheiniog 1
SS9: Dyfi 2
SS10: Gartheiniog 2 (Live TV)
SS11: Dyfnant 1
SS12: Cholmondeley Castle RallyFest
Service: Deeside Rally Village
SS13: Dyfnant 2
Service: Deeside Rally Village
Sunday 29 October:
SS15: Gwydyr 1
SS16: Alwen 1
SS17: Brenig 1
SS18: Gwydyr 2
SS19: Alwen 2
SS20: Brenig 2 (Power Stage – Live TV)
Ceremonial Finish: Mostyn Street, Llandudno