The date for the 2017 Wales Rally GB – 26-29 October – has been officially ratified by the World Motor Sport Council.
As in 2016 Britain will host the penultimate fixture of a 13-round FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) opening in Monte Carlo in January and culminating in Australia during November.
After many seasons as the WRC’s final round, Wales Rally GB moved forward in this year’s calendar to a new date at the end of October – a change which proved successful on many fronts and will be repeated in 2017.
A record number of 92,000 visitors enjoyed better autumnal weather while the switch to a weekend coinciding with the half-term holiday of many local schools proved popular with families. Notably the Cholmondeley Castle RallyFest in association GreenThumb, which provided a feast of entertainment for all ages, attracted a packed 10,000 crowd.
Building on this success, the 2017 Wales Rally GB will again be based in Deeside at the end of October with the spectacular competitive action set almost entirely in the legendary Welsh forests. The final route will be announced when tickets go on sale in the spring.
While there may be a familiar feel about the 2017 calendar, next year sees the dawn of an exciting new-era WRC featuring greater manufacturer interest with the return of automotive giants Toyota and Citroën.
The championship also will welcome a new generation of World Rally Cars. Dramatic new-look challengers boasting extra power, less weight, bigger rear wings and more noise will enhance the entertainment while the biggest shake up for many years among the drivers will add extra intrigue and interest – not least as reigning world champion Sébastien Ogier will be targeting an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory in Wales with a new, as yet unconfirmed, team.
“Wales Rally GB continues to go from strength-to-strength and next year’s WRC with its new cars already has all the hallmarks of being a classic,” enthused Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Wales Rally GB. “This year’s move to a new spot at the end of October was widely welcomed by new visitors and was a great success. Now, with a similar half-term event confirmed for next autumn – plus the mouthwatering prospect of an even more appealing championship – next year’s Wales Rally GB should be the first date in everyone’s 2017 diaries!”