Gwynedd to play host to International Rally stars. Plans are well underway for the return of the North Wales' premier motorsport event, the International Rally of Wales, taking place on May 15/16 this year. The Caernarvonshire & Anglesey Motor...
Gwynedd to play host to International Rally stars.
Plans are well underway for the return of the North Wales' premier motorsport event, the International Rally of Wales, taking place on May 15/16 this year. The Caernarvonshire & Anglesey Motor Club organised rally is returning to the sporting calendar with an all new compact format for 2004 - and has even moved its base town to make the event more competitor friendly.
As the second round of the Kwik Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship, the compact two day rally will be based in the market town of Dolgellau in Gwynedd, giving the rally a more central location after being based in Wrexham for a number of years.
The event has received financial support from the Gwynedd Events Commission who are partly funded by the European Union's Objective One Funding. The International Rally of Wales brings in a wealth of revenue for the local tourism trade with many hundreds of hotel beds being required and equally, many people to feed and drink for the weekend. Aside from the commercial benefits that the rally brings, Gwynedd Council's Events Commission are also delighted to be welcoming some of Europe's highest calibre drivers to the Welsh forests around Dyfi and the Llangurig area.
Sue Sanders-Peppitt, the new Clerk of the Course for the Rally, welcomed the support that Gwynedd Council has given the event:
"Without the support from the Gwynedd Events Commission, it simply would not have been possible to put this rally together for 2004. We're extremely grateful to the Commission for their support and encouragement as we have worked to put the plans together for the rally. Dolgellau will be a superb central base for the event, as it cuts down the road mileage for the competitors significantly, therefore making for a more compact rally, which will hopefully attract more competitors to take part on a well organised event that uses some of the best rally stages that Wales has to offer."
Reigning back to back British Rally Champion Jonny Milner also welcomed the return of the International Rally of Wales to the British Rally Championship calendar this year:
"There's no doubt in my mind that the British Rally Championship last year was poorer for the Rally of Wales not being able to run due to a lack of entries. I am delighted that the Welsh forest stages will be part of the British series once again, as no doubt it is a shot in the arm for the championship that one of the best organised and most enjoyable rallies in back in the diary this year. The International Rally of Wales will always be a special rally to me as it was my first ever International win in 2002. I'll be more determined than ever to make sure that I retain the Rally of Wales crown in 2004, and I wish the organising team every success in making the event a winner.".
The new look rally caters for all kinds of rally enthusiasts this year. Starting around midday on the Saturday from Dolgellau, the crews will head into the Dyfi forest for a sincere test of their driving skills. Over 60 miles of competitive stage mileage is on offer for the first leg of the event that will also see a National Rally, Historic Rally, and Army Land Rover Challenge event running behind the International Field.
A 6am start on the Sunday morning will take the crews out to the renowned Sweet Lamb Gravel Testing complex that offers safe and spectacular viewing for spectators, and a centralised service area. Another 45 miles of stages will provide another stiff challenge for the competitors before returning to Dolgellau for the champagne celebrations on Sunday lunchtime.
With interest increasing in the Kwik Fit Pirelli British Rally Championship by the day, both championship officials and the event organisers are confident that the new look and compact format of the 2004 International Rally of Wales and its support events will be a major hit with both competitors and spectators alike.