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WRC Wales A Huge Success - Media Take Note

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The DriveWrite Archives Rally Racing Topics:  Wales Rally GB

WRC Wales A Huge Success - Media Take Note

Geoff Maxted
November 29, 2013

Wales Rally GB Wales Rally GB
The revitalised Wales Rally GB has been hailed a huge success by all involved in the organisation of the UK’s concluding round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. The move to a new base in Deeside took this year’s event (14-17 November) back into what are seen as the spectacular sport’s heartlands in north Wales, reintroducing many of the classic competitive special stages that haven’t featured on the itinerary since the halcyon days of the old RAC Rally.

These significant revisions resulted in a bumper entry from eager competitors plus a massive upsurge in fan interest as a result of which the legendary Welsh forests were alive with more than double the number of fans seen in recent years. Adding further to the sense of occasion, more than 20,000 enthusiasts of all ages visited the busy Service Park in Deeside, the road sections between the timed stages were lined with thousands of passionate spectators many waving Welsh flags and the official Start and Finish Ceremonies were greeted with packed streets in Conwy and Llandudno.

“Relocating the event in north Wales has been a massive success,” confirmed Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of rally organiser International Motor Sports. “It was fantastic to see such huge crowds whether deep in the forests or at the Service Park. Indeed, the large number of people trying to access some of the stages – notably on Saturday – took everyone by surprise. We have apologised to those who missed out and can assure all fans that we are learning lessons and already planning ahead to cater for even larger numbers in 2014.”

As well as announcing that the event’s huge popularity had helped to raise an impressive £42,500 for those local charities operating spectator car parks, Coe was equally delighted with the gruelling nature of the competitive route, which not only produced a very worthy overall winner but also showcased some promising young local talent.

“It seemed utterly appropriate that rallying’s new superstar, Sébastien Ogier, should finish his outstanding title-winning season with his first Wales Rally GB victory,” said Coe. “While we are obviously thrilled to have witnessed Ogier’s masterful performance in what were typically challenging conditions, it was another of our aims to use the event to encourage and inspire a new generation of top British rally drivers. So it was great to see rising Welsh rally stars such as Elfyn Evans, Tom Cave and Osian Pryce taking full advantage of the opportunity to prove their potential on the World stage. Hopefully they will be in a position to challenge Ogier in the years to come.”

The winner, and newly crowned 2013 WRC champion, was another full of praise for the new-look event. “It was a really good atmosphere, which is great for the event and championship,” enthused Ogier. “It’s the first time I have seen so many people on all of the stages, and the stages themselves are quite beautiful to drive, too.”

Now perhaps the media will sit up and take notice of rallying. Those who watched it on the improved ITV4 coverage witnessed what turned out to be a very exciting event. Roll on the Monte Carlo Rally in January.

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