WORLD RALLY LAUNCH
FANS KEY TO 2019 AUTOSPORT SHOW’S
Public get the chance to watch WRC 2019 kick off Motorsport News readers will be offered unparalleled access to the stars of the World Rally Championship when it is unveiled at January’s Autosport International.
The series is being launched in Birmingham for the second year in succession, but next year’s reveal will be organised with fans as well as the world’s media in mind.
Following feedback from this year’s Autosport International Show and working in conjunction with WRC Promoter, the decision was taken to bring the teams, cars and crews to the NEC on Saturday rather than one of the trade-targeted weekdays. Show director Kate Woodley told
Motorsport News: “Launching the FIA World Rally Championship was one of the highlights and biggest moments in the history of Autosport International. It was a real coup for us this year. Next year, we want to make it bigger, better and more fan-friendly.”
World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier was one of the key drivers who led the call for change in the launch date.
The Frenchman told MN: “We did the launch on the media day at the show, but it could be an idea to bring more people and do it on a day when the public and the families could come in as well. It could be tough for the media if we do this, but it’s better for the fans.”
That sentiment was echoed by M-sport’s world championshipwinning team principal Malcolm Wilson, who said: “Definitely it’s worth looking at moving the launch, we’ve all seen how many thousands of people come through the doors at the weekend. It would be nice to show those people our sport and our championship.”
Woodley said those comments made the decision to move the launch date easier.
“When people like Sebastien Ogier and Malcolm Wilson talk to us, we listen and we listen very carefully,” said Woodley. “As it happens, we were completely of the same mind here.
“We want the public to come in and meet their heroes, that’s what this show is all about, and what we’re offering in January is an unparalleled opportunity for rally fans to come and see their heroes for the first time in 2019.”
As was the case this year, the entire series, including all drivers, co-drivers and cars in their new liveries – as well as representatives from WRC2 and Junior World Rally Championship – will be present in Birmingham for Saturday January 12. WRC Promoter managing
director Oliver Ciesla said ASI offered the perfect place to launch the series. “We are delighted to launch the 2019 WRC at Autosport International on Saturday in front of the thousands of public visitors,” he said. “Ahead of what is lining up to be another exceptionally competitive year, there is no better way to launch next year’s FIA World Rally Championship than at the show, which kicks off the start of the new motorsport season. With all the 2019 cars, drivers and team principals at the show, fans will get their WRC fix ahead of the season-opening Rallye Monte Carlo.”
As usual Motorsport News will work alongside sister title Autosport at the show and MN editor Matt James is looking forward to showcasing the best the WRC has on offer.
“It’s fantastic to be involved in this,” said James. “Coming on the back of another very, very strong Wales Rally GB, the news that British rally fans and Motorsport News readers are going to have the chance to come to our show and be the first in the world to see everything that’s new-for-’19 in the World Rally Championship really is something special.
“If, for example, you’re a Kris Meeke fan and you want to see what he looks like in Toyota kit, you’d better go and buy a ticket to ASI – he’ll be there in his new threads.”
Tickets are available for the show from autosportinternational.com. ● Motorsport News will once again present the British Touring Car Championship stand at the Autosport International Show. A selection of leading cars from the category will be on display and top drivers will be interviewed on a stage. Reigning champion Colin Turkington and 2018 runner-up Tom Ingram, along with 2013 title winner Andrew Jordan, are already confirmed to attend.