Wales Rally GB

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"Network Q RAC Rally" and "Lombard RAC Rally" redirect here. For the video games of those names, see Rally Championship (series).
Manfred Stohl driving a Citroën Xsara WRC at the 2007 Rally GB.

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 and around the city of Cardiff in 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.

History[edit]

1932 Royal Automobile Club Rally and Coachwork Competition[edit]

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[edit]

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 (Suez Crisis) and 1967 (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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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

  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. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ [2]

External links[edit]