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On your marks for Wales Rally GB

famous stages such as Myherin and Hafren to the east of Aberystwyth are to be run in reverse for the first time in more than 20 years, while the once- renowned Pantperthog stage hasn’t been included since 1997. To ensure all 22 special stages are

WITH less than two months

before the FIA World Rally Championship arrives in the UK, plans for this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (October 27-30) are close to completion. Showcasing Wales’ official ‘Year

of Adventure’, the competitive route for 2016 is the longest and most challenging since the event’s widely- acclaimed move to a new base in the north of the country in 2013. Moreover, with the rally moving forward in the calendar by a couple of weeks from mid-November to the final week in October, this year’s

not-to-be-missed showdown is likely to be drier, faster and even more spectacular than ever before. In total, the 22 timed speed tests

to be run against-the-clock add up to three days and 336 kilometres (208 miles) of thrilling competitive action. All but one of these are classic timed sections set on gravel tracks in the legendary forests of Mid and North Wales mostly managed by Natural Resources Wales – the only exception being Saturday’s family-friendly RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle in Cheshire. Adding to the spirit of adventure,

ready not only for the arrival of the FIA World Rally Championship but also for the ten of thousands of spectators who venture into the fearsome forests to catch the astonishing action, Clerk of the Course, Iain Campbell, Event Safety Coordinator, Sue Sanders and FIA Safety Delegate driver, Ryland James have just completed their final inspections. And Campbell reports that the stages are in ‘great condition’. “This was our last chance to

cover the entire route and to be able to implement any changes to our safety plans that might be required,” explained Campbell after two long days driving through the Welsh forests in an impressive Hyundai Santa Fe, provided by the rally’s Official Car Partner ,Hyundai Motor UK. “We are giving the WRC stars a

number of exciting new challenges this year with new formats to many of the special stages from those they have tackled in recent rallies. This not only means that they will have to make new pace notes for the event but also that we have had a lot more work to do to accommodate these changes. Reversing a stage can mean that a starting position, flying finish or spectator viewing area won’t work from the reverse direction. I guess that’s why race circuits tend to go round one way! “Checking that spectators have the

best viewing locations to marvel at the best drivers in the world is important, but it is even more important that they can do so safely and enjoy the whole experience. I am glad to say that very little was changed during our final full recce of the route – huge testament to the amount of hard work put in by our volunteers, in conjunction with teams from Natural Resources Wales, over the past eight months. “As for the stages: they are in great condition,” continued Ca

mpbell. “We drove through all

Friday’s tests first and I thought that they would be my favourites. Myherin is just brilliant, Hafren has so many changes of surface and undulations that it is a truly wonderful test and then Dyfnant seems so short in comparison but flows really nicely. But then, when you get to the stages on Saturday’s schedule in Dfyi and Gartheinog forests you think they are definitely the best; or perhaps Panthperhog, a new test for this year, is better still. And then you have the two great Alwen and Brenig stages where it all finishes on the Sunday morning… “It really is impossible to

pick a winner – they are all super- challenging in their own way and add up to one heck of an event – that’s why our rally is so respected and revered right around the globe, and is one every driver wants to experience and win. What I do know is that, having just driven the entire route just a few weeks before the start, I would love to be competing or spectating.”.

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