The Welsh forests await the Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team this week on Wales Rally GB (3 to 6 October) where the trio of Yaris WRC cars will look to sustain their late-season winning form.
With three rounds remaining in the 2019 World Rally Championship season, Ott Tänak leads the drivers’ standings, while Toyota is just 19 points off the top of the manufacturers’ competition. Tänak‘s team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala is a past double winner of the event, while the British crew of Kris Meeke and co-driver Seb Marshall are looking forward to the support of the home crowds.
“This is as close to a home rally as it gets for me,” said Ulsterman Meeke. “My first ever rally was in some of the same Welsh forests that I’m now fortunate enough to be driving a World Rally car through.”
Traditionally, the weather conditions in Wales present a big challenge for the crews, but Meeke relishes the prospect: “For me, the mud and rain you get there is a big part of why I love rallying. We know that the Yaris WRC can work quite well in these conditions, even if gets really slippery. So I’m optimistic that we will go there with a quick car and can be confident of a top result.”
Wales Rally GB takes place mainly on forest gravel roads, which are relatively fast when dry. However, fog and rain can make conditions muddy and slippery, with frequent changes in grip levels.
The rally has a new base this year in Llandudno on the North Wales coast. The official start has also moved, to Liverpool city centre, and the opening spectator stage will take at the Oulton Park race circuit in Cheshire.
Friday’s action takes in nine stages, the last of which will be run in darkness. Saturday’s schedule features three forest stages, mostly in mid-Wales, each of which will be run twice with only a tyre-fitting zone in-between. The day will conclude in the evening with a new asphalt stage along the seafront in Colwyn Bay. On Sunday there will be two passes through the Alwen and Brenig stages and another asphalt test along the Great Orme coastal road.
2020 World Rally Championship
The FIA, world rallying’s governing body, has announced the World Rally Championship calendar for 2020. This features new events in Kenya, New Zealand and, hosting the final round of the season, Japan.
Event pictures will be uploaded here: https://www.tgr-dam.com
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