WALES RALLY GB – Sept 17th – 19th, Round 12
Switching the rally from its traditional November date to September will reduce the impact of the weather but lead to a new challenge for the crews. The stages in late summer / autumn will take on a completely different character, as the track-side vegetation will be dense, green and over hanging the drivers’ chosen line. Arguably the stages will be harder to read for the drivers, but will be undoubtedly faster if a dry spell precedes the rally. If dry, the event will rival Rally Finland for the highest average speed!
In recent years Rally GB has introduced a complex ticket system that allows the owner to travel to prescriptive stages and locations only. Despite the need for prior detailed planning by spectators and the lack of flexibility once purchased, the system in 2003 provided spectators with good access into the stages and around the event. In 2003 the three-day pass cost £75pp for approximately eight stages of action.
The rallies host town of Cardiff offers a warm and raucous welcome to rally fans. The city is rapidly developing a party atmosphere to rival Jyvaskyla – if that is possible?
Solbergs’ emotional return
Petter Solberg will be trying harder on this event as it was the scene of his title winning victory of 2003. With the date change, the event will probably favour the cars more stable at very high speeds such as Ford and the new Peugeot. Martin and Gronholm are bound to fancy their chances against the 2003 World Champion.