The route for 2019 Wales Rally GB has been revealed with several new features having been announced.
To mark the 20th running of the event in Wales, several changes have been confirmed with the rally base now being in Llandudno, with a new street stage in nearby Colwyn Bay also planned.
The ceremonial start on the Thursday afternoon of the four-day event will take place on the waterfront in Liverpool and will be followed by an opening stage at Oulton Park; the first time the World Rally Championship has visited the scenic race circuit for over 25 years.
Friday then sees the championship head into the forests of North Wales, with the headline news being the return of a stage near Bala which will be ran in darkness – the only gravel stage on the WRC calendar to do so.
‘Super Saturday’ also takes its place on the itinerary and features seven stages in Dyfi, Myherin and Sweet Lamb Hafren forests in a similar route to 2018 with the addition of the Colwyn Bay test on Saturday evening.
A further five stages on Sunday, four of them on the Denbigh Moors, completes the mammoth 22 stage, 200-mile route, with the second run through the Brenig (Wolf) Power Stage bringing down the curtain on the 2019 event. A short super special around the Great Orme peninsula splits the two pairs of stages.
Hugh Chambers, Chief Executive of Motorsport UK and organiser of Wales Rally GB said on the route: “Every year we engage fresh thinking to add further dimensions to what this extraordinary event offers both competitors and spectators.”
“We feel strongly that by moving the start to Liverpool and Thursday evening’s curtain-raiser to Oulton Park, this year’s Wales Rally GB will not only get off to its most accessible and exciting start for many years but also entice more people into Wales for the incomparable action which follows in the forests.”
He added: “The addition of Colwyn Bay will further assist us in our efforts to showcase this remarkable sport to even wider audiences – a quest that’s endorsed by our decision to move the central Service Park hub into Llandudno town centre.”
“We must thank the Welsh Government, our principal funding partner, for its willingness to embrace these changes and for its ongoing enthusiasm and support which allows us to bring the World Rally Championship to these shores.”
While M-Sport Ford driver Elfyn Evans, winner of the event back in 2017, commented: “Taking the rally to the heart of a big city like Liverpool is a great way of introducing the sport to a new audience. The same can be said about the opening Oulton Park stage and basing the rally in Llandudno – which will make for an exciting new service park with a lot going on.”
“The event itself will be a typical Wales Rally GB with some really long and demanding days. It’s a real challenge for the crews, and I’m happy to see the return of some night stages, too. It’s part of the DNA of Wales Rally GB and we’re in for another really demanding event this year. As always, the stages look incredible. Wales has some of the best roads in the world, and I’m really looking forward to this year’s event.”
2019 Wales Rally GB takes place between October 3-6.
2019 Wales Rally GB Itinerary
Thursday 3 October:
Ceremonial Start: Liverpool
SS1: Oulton Park
Friday 4 October:
SS2: Elsi 1
SS3: Penmachno 1
SS4: Dyfnant 1
SS5: Aberhirnant 1
SS6: Elsi 2
SS7: Penmachno 2
SS8: Slate Mountain
SS9: Dyfnant 2
SS10: Aberhirnant 2
Service and overnight: Llandudno
Saturday 6 October:
SS11: Dyfi 1
SS12: Myherin 1
SS13: Sweet Lamb Hafren 1
SS14: Myherin 2
SS15: Sweet Lamb Hafren 2
SS16: Dyfi 2
SS17: Colwyn Bay
Service and overnight: Llandudno
Sunday 6 October:
SS18: Alwen 1
SS19: Brenig 1
SS20: Great Orme
SS21: Alwen 2
SS22: Brenig 2 (Wolf Power Stage)
Ceremonial Finish: The Promenade, Llandudno