Rally GB could leave Wales from 2020

Autosport (UK) - - PIT + PADDOCK - DAVID EVANS

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.

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