THE countdown is almost over for the Wales Rally GB as scores of high-tech racing cars head to Chester, followed by thousands of spectators who want to witness the first day of action.

Wales Rally GB is one of the most traditional and arguably one of the most challenging events on the FIA World Rally Championship 2019 calendar, with 22 competitive special stages totalling 194 miles in a run against the clock through North Wales scenery.

The speed tests will be tackled by more than 53 international crews, with a further 60 competitors doing battle on the supporting two-day WRGB National Rally, which includes the legendary Jimmy McRae competing in a classic Porsche 911.

Preparation is the key to success and the drivers and co-drivers entering the international event have been recceing the stages in road cars to establish a feel for the conditions, while perfecting their all-important pace notes.

The action gets underway at Oulton Park circuit, near Chester, for the rally’s first competitive speed test under the lights on Thursday evening.

They will return to Llandudno Promenade overnight, where the Racing Village is in place, before routes around Welsh forests and mountains. The racers will go from Llyn Elsi to Aberhirnant on day two; Dyfi to Colwyn Bay on day three; before the last day from Llyn Alwen to Llyn Brenig, with a ceremonial finish on Llandudno Promenade where the winners will be awarded.

There are just two more races to follow Wales WRC circuit, in Spain and Australia, and battles for the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles are reaching fever pitch. Ott Tänak (Toyota Yaris), Sébastien Ogier (Citroën C3) and Thierry Neuville (Hyundai i20) are locked in a three-way tussle.


Thursday, October 3

8:00* Shakedown: Gwydir

16:00 Ceremonial Start: Liverpool

19:08 SS1: Dayinsure Oulton Park Stage

21:17 Overnight: Llandudno

Friday, October 4

07:18 SS2: Elsi 1

07:46 SS3: Penmachno 1

09:56 SS4: Dyfnant 1

10:53 SS5: Aberhirnant 1

13:07 Service: Llandudno

14:40 SS6: Elsi 2

15:08 SS7: Penmachno 2

15:57 SS8: Slate Mountain

18:11 SS9: Dyfnant 2

19:08 SS10: Aberhirnant 2

21:11 Service and overnight: Llandudno

Saturday, October 5

08:06 SS11: Dyfi 1

10:08 SS12: Myherin 1

11:02 SS13: Sweet Lamb Hafren 1

12:40 Regroup: Newtown

14:08 SS14: Myherin 2

15:02 SS15: Sweet Lamb Hafren 2

16:19 SS16: Dyfi 2

19:13 SS17: Colwyn Bay

19:49 Service and overnight: Llandudno

Sunday, October 6

07:28 SS18: Alwen 1

08:08 SS19: Brenig 1

09:26 SS20: Great Orme

11:10 SS21: Alwen 2

12:18 SS22: Brenig 2 (Wolf Power Stage)

13:32 Ceremonial Finish: The Promenade, Llandudno

  • *all times for first car and subject to change

“Recce was good and there were not too many surprises,” said Ogier, who is gunning for a seventh World Championship title and an unprecedented sixth victory in Wales.

“Of course, there are stages we know, but there are some new sections and it looks like we are going to have the traditional conditions for Wales Rally GB. The rally is exhausting for teams and drivers, but it has always been like this, so it is not a new challenge."

He added: “I'm ready to push, try my best and put Ott under pressure."

North Wales Chronicle:

Elfyn Evans will fly the flag for Wales on the 2019 circuit. Picture: Jakob Ebrey

Welsh hero Elfyn Evans is another driver who has previously savoured victory in his home country. The M-Sport Ford Fiesta driver famously won in 2017 to become the first Welshman to win a World Championship rally. Having missed the previous three rounds through injury, he is desperately keen to make a winning return this weekend.

"Of course I`ll be doing everything I can to win, it's what we are here for," he said.

“The recce has been good and the stages are looking excellent. It's looking like the first real day (Friday) will be more tricky in terms of, let's say surprises on the stages thanks to the conditions that we were perhaps not expecting, but overall, it's been a pretty good two days".

Visit the Wales Rally GB website for further information.