WRC

Wales to host GB rally till 2011

MINISTER ANNNOUNCES THAT WALES RALLY GB IS SET TO REMAIN IN WALES Thursday 15th September -- The UK leg of the World Rally Championship is set to remain in Wales under an agreement announced today (Thursday Sept 15) by Andrew Davies, Minister...

MINISTER ANNNOUNCES THAT WALES RALLY GB IS SET TO REMAIN IN WALES

Thursday 15th September -- The UK leg of the World Rally Championship is set to remain in Wales under an agreement announced today (Thursday Sept 15) by Andrew Davies, Minister for Economic Development and Transport.

He said Wales intended to continue its title sponsorship and the agreement, currently being finalised with International Motor Sports Ltd (IMS) the commercial arm of the Motor Sports Association (MSA) means the UK round would be hosted in Wales until 2011.

It will continue to be branded Wales Rally GB with the five year sponsorship deal estimated to be worth up to £40m to the Welsh economy.

The international profile and media coverage of the World Rally Championship is second only to F1 in motorsport and retaining the sponsorship is seen as a marketing coup.

The news was welcomed by MSA Chairman John Grant who said the agreement would secure the long term future of the event in Wales.

"It is indeed excellent news - the importance of the national government supporting an event like this should not be under estimated and we welcome the opportunities it presents.

"Wales Rally GB has gone from strength to strength in terms of organisation and is acknowledged as one of the best rounds of the Rally Championship.

"Over the past five years the sport has moved to a new level of professionalism and an event of this status needs the infrastructure that is provided in Wales. There are in fact very few locations in Great Britain that can offer what Wales can.

"The Rally enjoys the support of the capital city and has developed a special relationship with Cardiff City Council and in terms of the sport, the environment is superb with those fantastic forests through which most of the Rally runs."

The decision to retain title sponsorship follows an economic evaluation of last year's event which analysed the direct and indirect benefits of hosting the Rally, including the global media coverage it attracts.

The Rally has also provided a firm foundation for developing the Wales Motorsport Strategy which has used the profile of Wales Rally GB as the focus for related economic activities.

The initiative aims to use the Rally to boost tourism, support business development, develop motorsport infrastructure in Wales and drive forward the high performance engineering sector by attracting more recruits.

The economic impact study revealed that the 2004 Rally generated £7m in additional Welsh output from short term expenditure alone.

Between 2000 and 2005 the rally is estimated to have contributed at least £28-£30m to regional output through event receipts and spending alone.

The Minister said the economic case for continuing to support the Rally was sound: "Every pound of public sector support generates an additional £2 to the Welsh economy, providing a return of 200%, while the branding and marketing opportunities gives Wales an international platform through media exposure which is valued at £2 m.

"The Rally is also notable amongst major events in Wales in that the overwhelming majority of spending comes from outside Wales which means it is an export earner for Wales.

"I am particularly pleased to announce that the benefits of Wales Rally GB are spread across Wales: 60% of the expenditure in unitary authorities is outside Cardiff and Swansea, with rural unitary authorities like Powys benefiting significantly from the Rally, as does the Objective 1 area of West Wales and the Valleys."

He added that the intention to retain sponsorship was not only of value to Wales but to the UK, as a successful WRC event in Wales would help strengthen prospects in high performance engineering firms and motorsport generally in other areas of the country.

Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of IMS Ltd, the company that organises and promotes the Rally, said: "A long term agreement provides the basis and platform for achieving our aims of being the best Rally in the world. It also provides the opportunity for Wales to showcase its talents to the rest of the world in what is a major international sport.

"The Welsh sponsorship has been a mutually beneficial arrangement to date and I am confident that we can build on this strong relationship to maximise economic development opportunities."

-wrgb-

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Series WRC
Drivers John Grant