30 Nov 07
This event will be the end of an era in rallying. From the start of the 2008 season, there will be an important new dimension in World Championship rallying - the single tyre supplier and the ban on anti-deflation mousse tyre inserts. Under the single supplier system, Pirelli will provide tyres for all championship drivers of four-wheel drive cars, and also for the Junior Championship.
Wales was the last round of the FIA World Rally Championship to permit the use of secret stages. Competitors had to rely on maps alone to run the rally and it was not until 1990 where pacenotes were allowed for the route.
Traditionally, the event covered a lot of regions in England, Wales and Scotland. Since 1997, the forest stages have stayed entirely within Wales, although "Stately Home" stages were held in the English midlands; from 2000 onwards, the whole event has been held in Wales.
This event is still fondly known by many as the "RAC Rally," the former appellation since its debut in 1932, for Royal Automobile Club. From 1974 until 1992, Lombard, a British finance company, was the title sponsor. The company continues to support the sport by way of sponsoring a small-engine rally each autumn. Then the GM-associated sales division Network Q took over until 2002, after which the event was partnered by the Wales Development Agency.
The "RAC" part of the event title was dropped in 1998. The name "RAC Rally" lives on, however, as a forest special stage rally for historic cars, run two weeks before Wales Rally GB (at the same time as Rally Ireland) for historic cars in north England, south Scotland and the border country.
The name comes from the late Roger Clark, the popular English rally driver who was the first British driver to win the RAC Rally, and whose middle name was Albert.
There was no overall winner of the event until 1953, although best performances were published and created a record of unofficial results. In 1952 the best performance was put up by an Allard with a Cadillac engine.
The first gravel road special stage was run on the 1960 RAC Rally while the first forest stages in 1961.
It is one of only six events that have retained their unbroken World Championship status since the WRC was established in 1973.