Rally GB could leave Wales from 2020
The future of Rally GB has rarely looked brighter following a blockbuster event last week and news that it could return to rotating its base around the country.
Rally organisers have struck a new deal with long-term backer the Welsh Government, and the event will celebrate its 20th successive season in the principality next season. But from 2020 the rally could move to another part of the country.
MSA chairman David Richards (right, below) explained the situation to Autosport, saying: “The Welsh Government has seen the economic benefits of the rally and they’re very supportive of its growth.
“They’re willing to support the event for another three years, but they also see that if the event has to expand and go to other regions of the UK as part of that process, they’re willing to support that as well – so long as we’re willing to come back again. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Prior to its arrival in Cardiff in 2000, Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship had run out of seven different host cities – now is the chance to return to some of those regions. One source told Autosport: “There’s interest in Rally GB and now there is potential for it to move. Let’s see what happens. It’s going to be an interesting future – it’s an opportunity to move the event far and wide.”
Sebastien Ogier (right) won what could be the penultimate Welsh-based event for a while last Sunday. “They always do a very good job here,” said Ogier. “We know it’s tough and a real challenge and it was again – the roads are also really beautiful and I’m proud to be the first to win it five times.”
Rally GB’S relationship with Conwy Council and Llandudno has grown stronger in recent years and there was speculation last week that Llandudno could host the entire event, including the service park, next season. There was also talk of a ceremonial start in Liverpool or Manchester, with the potential for a city centre stage through either city to kick-start proceedings.