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Wales Rally GB

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Wales Rally GB

Manfred Stohl driving a Citroën Xsara WRC at the 2007 Rally GB.

The Wales Rally GB is the largest and most high profile motor rally in the United Kingdom. It is a round of the FIA World Rally Championship and was formerly a round of the MSA British Rally Championship and is based in North Wales. From its first running in 1932 until the 53rd event in 1997, it was known as the RAC Rally until adopting its current name in 2003 except in 2009 when it was Rally of Great Britain.

Contents

  • History 1
    • 1932 Royal Automobile Club Rally and Coachwork Competition 1.1
    • Pre- & post-World War II years 1.2
    • Forest stages 1.3
    • Mickey Mouse stages 1.4
    • Group B 1.5
  • Scandinavian successes 2
  • Title sponsors 3
  • 2005 4
  • 2008 5
  • 2013 6
  • Results 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History

1932 Royal Automobile Club Rally and Coachwork Competition

The inaugural event was the 1932 Royal Automobile Club Rally, which was the first major rally of the modern era in Great Britain. Of the 367 crews entered, 341 competitors in unmodified cars started from nine different towns and cities (London, Bath, Norwich, Leamington, Buxton, Harrogate, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne and Edinburgh.)

The Official Programme explained, "Different routes are followed from the nine starting points, each approximately 1,000 miles (1,600 km) long, but all finishing at Torquay. On every route there are four controls in addition to the starting and finishing controls, and these are open for periods varying from seven to four hours. Competitors may report at these controls at any time during the hours of opening.......At the final control they must check in as near their fixed finishing time as possible, and any considerable deviation from this time results in loss of marks."

As well as completing the route to a time schedule the competitors were required to perform a special test involving slow running, acceleration and braking. Additionally a Concours d'Elegance was held at the finish in Torquay. There was no official winner, although Colonel A H Loughborough in a Lanchester 15/18 was recorded as having the fewest penalty points in the decisive test at the finish.[1]

Pre- & post-World War II years

The following year's RAC Rally followed a similar format, but with Hastings as the chosen finish. Over three hundred competitors entered, and this time Miss Kitty Brunel, driving an AC Ace, was the driver with the fewest penalties.

The rally was run annually until 1939, after which the outbreak of the Second World War forced its suspension. However, it resumed in 1951, and has been contested every year since with only two exceptions, 1957 (due to the Suez Crisis) and 1967 (due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease). This latter incident was on the eve of the event, so competitors staged a mock rally at the Bagshot proving ground as consolation for the press and television (ATV had been persuaded to provide major coverage with in-car cameras for the first time).

Forest stages

In 1960, organising secretary Jack Kemsley negotiated with the Forestry Commission to allow a two-mile (3 km) section of forest road in Argyll, Scotland to be used as a competitive section. It proved enormously successful, and the following year forest roads all over the country were opened up to the drivers. This, combined with the introduction of special timing clocks and seeding of entries, secured the rally's future, and cemented its reputation as one of the most gruelling and unpredictable fixtures on the calendar.[2]

Mickey Mouse stages

In 1971, 'Spectator Stages' were introduced and, by 1975 had become an important part of the event, usually at stately homes and other public venues like Sutton Park. The first day was, by then, devoted to these stages. Drivers did not enjoy them, and referred to them disparagingly as "Mickey Mouse stages" because of the lack of challenge they offered,[3][4] but nonetheless they contributed to the results. More recently, they have given way to the 'Super Special Stages', which are equally maligned by the drivers, but just as popular with spectators.

Group B

Michèle Mouton at the 1984 rally with an Audi Sport Quattro

The 1986 RAC Rally was the last European event for Group B vehicles. These highly tuned turbocharged cars were to be banned as they were deemed too powerful and dangerous, in light of the various accidents in which they were involved. In the end, the Peugeot 205 T16 Evo. 2s of Timo Salonen, Juha Kankkunen and Mikael Sundström took three of the top four places, with only Markku Alen's second position in the Lancia Delta S4 preventing a monopoly of the podium.

There were 83 finishers out of 150 starters in 1986, compared to year of worst attrition in 1981 when only 54 of the 151 starters reached the end. This was in stark contrast to the early years: in 1938, there were only 6 retirements from 237 starters.

Scandinavian successes

Scandinavian drivers have enjoyed rich pickings in the RAC Rally. Home drivers won the first six runnings of the race from 1953, when an outright winner was first declared. However, in 1960 Erik Carlsson of Sweden drove his Saab 96 to a hat-trick of victories in 1960–62, and of the six drivers to have won three or more titles since then, all but three - Colin McRae (1994, '95, '97), Richard Burns (1998–2000), and Sébastien Loeb (2008–10) - have been Swedes, Finns or Norwegians. The record for most victories is four, shared by Hannu Mikkola (1978–79, '81–82) and Petter Solberg (2002–05), whose consecutive streak is unique.

Title sponsors

Until 1970, there was no overt sponsorship, but in that year advertising decals appeared on cars and the Daily Mirror newspaper sponsored the event. This deal lasted four years before finance company Lombard North Central took over in 1974. The event became known as the Lombard RAC Rally, and Lombard's name became synonymous with the event.

Following Lombard's withdrawal of sponsorship after nineteen years, the rally became known as the Network Q RAC Rally and later, the Network Q Rally of Great Britain. The rally has moved its operational base to Cardiff and competitive stage mileage is concentrated in Wales. With sponsorship from the Welsh Government, the event is now known as the Wales Rally GB.

However, with such an extensive history covering the whole country, there were demands for the "glory days" of the old RAC Rally. In this spirit, two events have recently been established, and cover the same classic stages which are no longer part of the WRC itinerary. The RAC Revival Rally uses modern, but less powerful cars, while the Roger Albert Clark Rally is a historic event using only pre-1972 machinery, and named after the first home winner of the race as a World Championship event.

2005

This is a memorial on the tree for Michael Park where he lost his life.

The 2005 rally was the twelfth event on the WRC schedule for 2005, held on September 16–18, 2005. It included the first indoor super special stage at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

On stage fifteen, Peugeot driver Markko Märtin crashed heavily into a tree, and while he was unharmed his co-driver Michael Park sustained fatal injuries. It was the first death in the WRC in over a decade. The final two stages were cancelled and Sébastien Loeb, who would have won the event, voluntarily incurred a two-minute time penalty in order not to win under such circumstances, leaving Petter Solberg to be declared the victor.

A memorial for Park was unveiled in Märtin's homeland of Estonia and the damaged tree on the Margam Park stage of the rally where he died bears a plaque in memorial of him.

2008

The Wales Rally GB was the final round of the 2008 FIA World Rally Championship and took place on 4–7 December 2008. World champion Sébastien Loeb crowned his season with victory in the rally.[5]

Cardiff was both the start and finish point for the rally, while the service area returned to central Swansea. For the first time since 2000 the rally featured stages in Mid-Wales and there were special evening stages inside the Millennium Stadium.

2013

The Wales Rally GB was once again the final round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship and took place on 14–17 of November. 2013 World Rally Champion Sébastien Ogier took his first Wales Rally GB victory alongside Julien Ingrassia in the VW Polo R WRC.[6] Previous winner Jari-Matti Latvala finished 2nd, also in a VW Polo WRC whilst young Belgian Thierry Neuville finished off the podium. Local Welshman Elfyn Evans won the WRC2 category, French driver Quentin Gilbert won class 5 in the Citroen DS3 R3 and teenager Chris Ingram took the class 6 victory.

Conwy Castle was the start and Llandudno the finish point for the rally, while the service area was based in Deeside for the first time. New stages in North Wales were used such as Gwydyr and Chirk Castle.

Results

Year Event Finish Winner(s) Vehicle
1932 RAC Rally Torquay Col. Loughborough Lanchester
1933 RAC Rally Hastings Miss Kitty Brunell AC Ace
1934 RAC Rally Bournemouth F R G Spikins Singer Le Mans
1935 RAC Rally Eastbourne Results unknown
1936 RAC Rally Torquay C E A Westcott Austin 7
1937 RAC Rally Hastings Jack Harrop Jaguar SS100
1938 RAC Rally Blackpool Jack Harrop Jaguar SS100
1939 RAC Rally Brighton Abiegeg Fane BMW 328
1940–50 No Rally held
1951 1st RAC Rally Bournemouth Ian Appleyard
Mrs. Pat Appleyard
Jaguar XK120
1952 2nd RAC Rally Scarborough Godfrey Imhof
Mrs. Barbara Frayling
Allard-Cadillac J2
1953 3rd RAC Rally Hastings Ian Appleyard
Mrs. Pat Appleyard
Jaguar XK120
1954 4th RAC Rally Blackpool John Wallwork
Harold Brooks
Triumph TR2
1955 5th RAC Rally Hastings Jimmy Ray
Brian Horrocks
Standard Ten
1956 6th RAC Rally Blackpool Lyndon Sims
Rupert Jones
Tony Ambrose
Aston Martin DB2
1957 No Rally held
1958 7th RAC Rally Hastings Peter Harper
Dr Bill Deane
Sunbeam Rapier
1959 8th RAC Rally London Gerald Burgess
Sam Croft-Pearson
Ford Zephyr Six
1960 9th RAC Rally Brands Hatch Erik Carlsson
Stuart Turner
Saab 96
1961 10th RAC Rally Brighton Erik Carlsson
John Brown
Saab 96
1962 11th RAC Rally Bournemouth Erik Carlsson
David Stone
Saab 96
1963 12th RAC Rally Bournemouth Tom Trana
Sune Lundström
Volvo PV544
1964 13th RAC Rally London Tom Trana
Gunnar Thermanius
Volvo PV544
1965 14th RAC Rally London Rauno Aaltonen
Tony Ambrose
BMC Mini Cooper S 1275
1966 15th RAC Rally London Bengt Söderström
Gunnar Palm
Lotus Cortina
1967 16th RAC Rally Cancelled due to outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease
1968 17th RAC Rally London Simo Lampinen
John Davenport
Saab 96 V4
1969 18th RAC Rally London Harry Källström
Gunnar Häggbom
Lancia Fulvia 1.6 Coupé HF
1970 19th Daily Mirror RAC Rally London Harry Källström
Gunnar Häggbom
Lancia Fulvia 1.6 Coupé HF
1971 20th Daily Mirror RAC Rally Harrogate Stig Blomqvist
Arne Hertz
Saab 96 V4
1972 21st Daily Mirror RAC Rally York Roger Clark
Tony Mason
Ford Escort RS1600
1973 22nd Daily Mirror RAC Rally York Timo Mäkinen
Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1600
1974 23rd Lombard RAC Rally York Timo Mäkinen
Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1600
1975 24th Lombard RAC Rally York Timo Mäkinen
Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1800
1976 25th Lombard RAC Rally Bath Roger Clark
Stuart Pegg
Ford Escort RS1800
1977 26th Lombard RAC Rally York Björn Waldegård
Hans Thorszelius
Ford Escort RS1800
1978 27th Lombard RAC Rally Birmingham Hannu Mikkola
Arne Hertz
Ford Escort RS1800
1979 28th Lombard RAC Rally Chester Hannu Mikkola
Arne Hertz
Ford Escort RS1800
1980 29th Lombard RAC Rally Bath Henri Toivonen
Paul White
Talbot Sunbeam Lotus
1981 30th Lombard RAC Rally Chester Hannu Mikkola
Arne Hertz
Audi Quattro
1982 31st Lombard RAC Rally York Hannu Mikkola
Arne Hertz
Audi Quattro
1983 32nd Lombard RAC Rally Bath Stig Blomqvist
Björn Cederberg
Audi Quattro A2
1984 33rd Lombard RAC Rally Chester Ari Vatanen
Terry Harryman
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16
1985 34th Lombard RAC Rally Nottingham Henri Toivonen
Neil Wilson
Lancia Delta S4
1986 35th Lombard RAC Rally Bath Timo Salonen
Seppo Harjanne
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2
1987 36th Lombard RAC Rally Chester Juha Kankkunen
Juha Piironen
Lancia Delta HF 4WD
1988 37th Lombard RAC Rally Harrogate Markku Alen
Ilkka Kivimäki
Lancia Delta Integrale
1989 38th Lombard RAC Rally Nottingham Pentti Airikkala
Ronan McNamee
Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
1990 46th Lombard RAC Rally Harrogate Carlos Sainz
Luis Moya
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165
1991 47th Lombard RAC Rally Harrogate Juha Kankkunen
Juha Piironen
Lancia Delta Integrale 16V
1992 48th Lombard RAC Rally Chester Carlos Sainz
Luis Moya
Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD
1993 49th Network Q RAC Rally Birmingham Juha Kankkunen
Nicky Grist
Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD
1994 50th Network Q RAC Rally Chester Colin McRae
Derek Ringer
Subaru Impreza 555
1995 51st Network Q RAC Rally Chester Colin McRae
Derek Ringer
Subaru Impreza 555
1996 52nd Network Q RAC Rally ^2_Litre only Chester Armin Schwarz
Denis Giraudet
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
1997 53rd Network Q RAC Rally Cheltenham Colin McRae
Nicky Grist
Subaru Impreza WRC 97
1998 54th Network Q Rally of Great Britain Cheltenham Richard Burns
Robert Reid
Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evolution V
1999 55th Network Q Rally of Great Britain Cheltenham Richard Burns
Robert Reid
Subaru Impreza WRC 99
2000 56th Network Q Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Richard Burns
Robert Reid
Subaru Impreza WRC 2000
2001 57th Network Q Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Marcus Grönholm
Timo Rautiainen
Peugeot 206 WRC
2002 58th Network Q Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Petter Solberg
Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2002
2003 59th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Petter Solberg
Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2003
2004 60th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Petter Solberg
Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2004
2005 61st Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Petter Solberg
Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 2005
2006 62nd Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Marcus Grönholm
Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06
2007 63rd Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Mikko Hirvonen
Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 07
2008 64th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
2009 65th Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
2010 66th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Sébastien Loeb
Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
2011 67th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
2012 68th Wales Rally of Great Britain Cardiff Jari-Matti Latvala
Miikka Anttila
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
2013 69th Wales Rally of Great Britain Llandudno Sébastien Ogier
Julien Ingrassia
Volkswagen Polo R WRC
2014 70th Wales Rally of Great Britain Llandudno Sébastien Ogier
Julien Ingrassia
Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Note: In 1996, due to the World Rally Championship's event rotation system used from 1994–96, the rally counted only for the FIA 2-Litre World Championship for Manufacturers

References

  1. ^ "History of the RAC Rally", UKMotorsport.com, September 23, 1997
  2. ^ "Jack Kemsley And The Forests", Ross Finlay, CarKeys.co.uk, December 9, 2001
  3. ^ Francois Duval, "Unofficial Leaderboard after Stage 16 (final stage), Rally of Kent (Formula Rally)", RallyNews.net
  4. ^ "Michael Park, Motors Blog:WRC". Scivi.air-nifty.com. 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2012-04-24. 
  5. ^ [3]
  6. ^ [4]

External links

  • Wales Rally GB official site
  • World Rally Championship official site - watch Wales Rally GB online
  • British Rally Championship official site
  • Endurance Rally Association, organisers of the RAC Revival Rally
  • Roger Albert Clark Rally, official site
  • WRC Wales Rally GB 2013 Results
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