Wednesday | 05 Nov 2014

GB countdown: the stages

Trying to wrap your tongue around the special stages at Wales Rally GB (13 - 16 November) may require a few tips in Welsh pronunciation, but even if you have difficulty in saying them, there should be no mistaking the names.

The route has been tweaked slightly from 2013 to place a greater emphasis on north Wales, and inspires memories of glorious five-day RAC Rally adventures from the 1970s with a mix of traditional gravel forest tests and fan-friendly parkland roads.

Based at Deeside for a second year, the 13th and final round of the FIA World Rally Championship begins with Thursday evening’s start ceremony in Colwyn Bay.

Friday’s opening leg is a marathon. After a 05.30 start, competitors journey to mid-Wales for eight stages in the classic forests of Dyfi, Gartheiniog and Hafren. It contains almost half the rally’s competitive distance, with just a 15-minute service in Newtown splitting two loops of tests.

Saturday’s action is closer to Deeside’s service park and while most roads are familiar from last year, many will be used in the opposite direction. Three of the four forest stages, which are all used twice, are new, including both Clocaenog Forest tests.

Welsh hero - Elfyn Evans steps up to a World Rally Car for 2014 Wales Rally GB

The morning ends with a short stage around Chirk Castle, while the final two afternoon tests will be in darkness.

Sunday’s six stages cover just 46.12km, but include two passes over Kinmel Park’s country roads. There are also new forest tests in Alwen and Brenig, the second pass through the latter comprising the dramatic Power Stage, with bonus points to the fastest three drivers.

The Brenig finish line, overlooking a glorious reservoir, will provide some of the most stunning TV images of the season ahead of the podium in Llandudno.

The 23 stages cover 305.64km of competition in a route of 1363.91km.

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