Last weekend’s Rally of Spain, round 11 of the pulsating 2017 FIA World Rally Championship, acted as a perfect aperitif for the eagerly-awaited Dayinsure Wales Rally GB on October 26-29.
It is a mouthwatering prospect, too, not least as the iconic Welsh-based event has attracted a hitherto unrivalled number of new-era WRC cars.
As if expectations are not high enough ahead of the imminent arrival of 15 of the latest generation of dramatic cars, the WRC heads for the forests of Wales on the crest of a wave following Kris Meeke’s rousing victory in Spain and with an epic title fight still to be decided.
Meeke’s stirring victory – the second of this campaign and fifth of his career – has reignited Citroën’s season as well as fuelling hopes of the first home win for a British driver since Richard Burns triumphed back in 2000.
What’s more, the World Championship battle is coming to Britain with Sébastien Ogier gunning for a fifth successive crown in his M-Sport run Ford Fiesta WRC.
His two closest rivals – team-mate Ott Tänak and Hyundai’s top gun Thierry Neuville know they must beat the world’s number one on Welsh soil if they are to keep their dwindling title hopes alive until next month’s season finale in Australia.
The classy Frenchman, though, has made Wales Rally GB his own, having racked up four wins on the trot since the event moved to its new base in north Wales.
A fifth victory later this month would not only see Ogier keep his world crown but would also see him become the first man in history to win Britain’s classic round of the WRC an unprecedented five times.
Currently Ogier is tied on four wins with past rally legends Petter Solberg and Hannu Mikkola.
Adding to UK interest, the crack M-Sport World Rally Team – featuring Ogier, Tänak and Welshman Elfyn Evans – has moved within touching distance of a first Manufacturers’ title since 2007.
The Cumbrian-based operation now only needs a couple of finishes in Wales, irrespective of overall placings, to take the coveted championship.
“Rallying is truly in a great place at the moment both nationally and internationally,” enthused Ben Taylor, managing director of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.
“Here at home we have a revitalised British Rally Championship nurturing the next generation of young talent, while globally the new-look WRC is really bringing the crowds back with its latest generation of more exciting cars plus a truly captivating title fight.
“The sport is buzzing and it’s no surprise that our advance ticket sales are significantly up on recent years. We are expecting a bumper crowd for what’s going to be an incredibly exciting – and perhaps defining – Dayinsure Wales Rally GB.”
Tickets to see the cars in spectacular action – and, perhaps, the 2017 title being won – are still available with considerable discounts on offer to those buying in advance.
Advance adult prices start at just £10 for the opening Visit Conwy Tir Prince test on Thursday evening, £23 for Saturday’s family-friendly Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle, £28 for a Day Pass or £99 for the full four-day premium event pass (World Rally Pass). Accompanied children aged 15 and under are admitted free.
Full details of 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB including route, timetable and ticket information can be found on the official www.walesrallygb.com website.