The route for this week’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is billed as the longest and most challenging since the event moved to Deeside in 2013.
We headed out on to the stages during the pre-event recce to assess the challenge that the crews will face when the event moves into the mid-Wales forests on Friday morning. Here’s a run down of what caught our eye:
The return of a classic
Britain’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship will return to the famous Pantperthog forest for the first time since 1997. And although the two runs through the test on Saturday are only 9.64km each, the stage itself (below) is one that the crews are sure to enjoy. The first half is twisty and technical whereas the second portion is very fast with a splattering of open corners. Having only been used for a couple of rallies in recent years, the road surface is in great condition.
A pile of trouble?
The two runs through the Clocaenog stage could cause a problem for any of the weary crews that stray offline on Sunday morning. Recent tree-felling work has left a number of unforgiving log piles at the side of the road (below) and the heavy machinery and trucks that have been doing the work have left the road surface soft and very muddy. Traction could be an issue and there’s plenty to hit. The crews will need to be on their guard in this one.
A new spectator stage
Saturday’s competitive action concludes with the short dash through the Cholmondeley Castle spectator stage. The venue replaces Chirk Castle on this year’s route and although the stage is only 1.8km long, the fact that the crews will have tackled seven forest stages on the same gravel tyres before they arrive at Cholmondeley, could make things interesting. Grip may be hard to find.
Hafren is the longest stage of the rally at 35.14km and the crews will tackle it twice on Friday. The stage is fast from the start but the crews will struggle to shave any extra seconds off for brave cuts as the organisers have placed some menacing logs on the insides of certain corners (below) to deter them from taking a shorter line. Placing the car with care will be crucial through these sections. Anyone that doesn’t will suffer the consequences.