14 - 17 Nov 13
Categories:WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3
Most Recent Winner:Jari-Matti Latvala (2012)
Britain’s World Rally Championship counter has been a qualifying round of the series every year since the WRC was established in 1973.
Wales Rally GB’s origins date back to 1932 and, for many years, it was known as the RAC Rally in deference to the organiser, the Royal Automobile Club, before the advent of commercial sponsorship brought about a change of name.
While the event used to roam around England, Scotland and Wales, making it a test of endurance rather than a demonstration of all-out speed, since 2000 the action has been contained in Wales, specifically in the south, prior to the inclusion of stages further north into mid-Wales in 2008.
But it’s the gravel-based forest stages that Wales Rally GB is most famous for. Fast and undulating, the roads are often made slippery by rainfall, ice and even snow.
For 2013, Wales Rally GB returns to its traditional slot as the season finale in November. This is following complaints about attendances when the event was allocated a mid-September date in recent years.
But while the calendar slot is familiar, just about everything else about this year’s rally is new.
The headquarters and central Service Park will move from the Welsh capital Cardiff, where they have been based since 2000, to a new home 180 kilometres north on Deeside in Flintshire.
This year’s itinerary features 24 competitive stages, more than half of which are either totally new or haven’t been featured in the World Championship since the Nineties.
The event will kick off on Thursday 14th November with a start ceremony in the town of Conwy on the North Wales coast. That evening, in darkness, crews will tackle three stages in Snowdonia and Denbighshire: Gwydyr, which was last used in the 1960s and Penmachno and Clocaenog that last formed part of the rally in 1996.
Friday’s itinerary takes crews south to a trio of modern Wales Rally GB stages. The roads of Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren were included in the 2012 event, but their format will be modified slightly this year. The day will feature a remote service at Newtown.
Saturday’s stages are a mix of the old and new, with Penllyn (last used in 1991) Dyfi (restored to full length for the first time since 1998), Gartheiniog (similar to 2011 but with small changes) and Dyfnant (similar to 2012). A new family-oriented Spectator Stage in mid Wales is also planned.
Sunday’s action includes another Spectator Stage, this time in North Wales, and a repeat of Friday’s Gwydyr and Penmachno tests. The rally will reach its climax with a blast around the spectacular Great Orme toll road early on Sunday afternoon.