This year’s new-look Wales Rally GB has attracted a bumper, star-studded entry.
Now restored to its traditional position as the final round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) and based at a new home in north Wales, next month’s showpiece event (14-17 November) will feature the cream of drivers and teams from right around the globe.
No fewer than 64 crews will contest the full four-day WRC rally, joining the capacity entry of 100 amateurs already confirmed for the pair of concurrent National rallies. The total field of more than 160 entrants will not only provide those entered with some fierce competition but also ensure plenty of thrilling excitement for tens of thousands of spectators.
The newly crowned 2013 World Champion Sebastien Ogier – who spearheads Volkswagen Motorsport’s three-pronged attack on its Wales Rally GB debut – tops the outstanding WRC entry. Two previous Wales Rally GB winners – Mikko Hirvonen (Citroen) and Jari-Matti Latvala (VW) – are also targeting further victories in the legendary Welsh forests.
Also contesting Wales Rally GB are former F1 driver Robert Kubica and Olympic gold medalist Amy Williams MBE neither of whom are strangers to success. Having proved himself in the lesser WRC2 category, Kubica steps up to a factory specification Citroen DS3 WRC for the very first time. Williams – who in Vancouver 2010 became the first British gold medallist in an individual event at the Winter Olympics for 30 years – swaps her history-making skeleton for the co-driver’s seat alongside Sky Sports News F1 analyst Tony Jardine.
While there are no UK crews among the premier league Manufacturers’ entries, the WRC2 showcases the best of British talent with the experienced Mark Higgins joining two of the sports most promising future stars – Tom Cave and Elfyn Evans – in a trio of evenly matched Ford Fiesta R5s.
No fewer than nine local teams, where both driver and co-driver hold an MSA competition licence and a British passport, have taken advantage of significantly discounted entry fees (reduced to £1500 from £2598) aimed at encouraging more to gain World Championship experience.
Underlining the refreshed event’s truly global appeal, an amazing total of 26 nationalities are represented in the packed line-up with crews travelling from as far away as Japan, India, the Middle East and South America – all eager to pit their skills against the clock on what are widely regarded as some of the world’s greatest rally stages.
“We are thrilled that so many teams have taken up the challenge,” said Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of International Motor Sports Ltd, the organisers of Wales Rally GB. “The move to north Wales has been enthusiastically endorsed throughout the sport and, once again, that’s reflected in this year’s superb WRC entry which is double that of 2012. It was our stated ambition to make Wales Rally GB not just a fitting finale to the year long World Rally Championship but also an unmissable opportunity for British drivers to compete at the highest level. Looking down what’s an exceptional entry, I’m confident we’re well down the road to meeting those goals.”
The full 2013 Wales Rally GB WRC entry list can be obtained by clicking here and will be updated following last weekend’s concluding rounds of the British and BTRDA Rally Championships. As part of the successful Road to Wales initiative, prize winners from both have been offered free entries into Wales Rally GB.
Fans wanting to follow what’s going to be a sparkling spectacle can take advantage of a completely revised ticketing offer. Adult admittance to individual forest stages – and the Great Orme showpiece – has been reduced to just £15* and the ‘Kids for a Quid’ scheme provides those aged between 9-15 years old with a four-day ticket with access to all 22 timed stages for just £1*. Full information on tickets can be found on the Wales Rally GB website at: www.walesrallygb.com.