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The 2014 Roger Albert Clark Rally (28-30 November) will have a completely new look as the event starts a new era with Sunderland as the host city.

With the rally start, finish and HQ all based in Sunderland, the route will make extensive use of the Kielder forest complex and will take in several stages that are completely new to the event in a total competitive route of up to 190 stage miles.

The move north to Sunderland is being supported by Sunderland Live, the events arm of Sunderland City Council, and has allowed rally manager Colin Heppenstall to give the rally a fresh new look.

The event will be based around the Seaburn Leisure Centre, which will provide the venue for rally HQ, scrutineering, documentation and prize-giving. The event is also set to feature a spectacular spectator stage at the Herrington Country Park.

The format of the rally, which has been so successful over the last two years, will continue, starting with several stages in the darkness of Friday evening before two very full days of rallying on Saturday and Sunday. Initial route plans include over 90 stage miles on Saturday with a route heading as far west as Kershope. Sunday’s stages will be centred on the main Kielder complex before the finish in Sunderland from around 6pm.

“This is the major refresh I wanted to give the event,” said Heppenstall. “We’ve always moved the host city on a regular basis and the time was right to refresh. This should deliver the fresh challenge that the competitors wanted. We are very grateful to everyone involved at Sunderland for their enthusiastic co-operation and for their eagerness to welcome the event to Sunderland.”

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council said: “We’ve got major sporting traditions here in our city and a strong automotive industry. Now, hosting the Roger Albert Clark Rally, we have a major motorsport event and everyone can see part of the rally with the stage at Herrington Country Park. The organisers say it’s going to be a spectator spectacular and I’m sure it will be.”

Chris Alexander, Chief Operating Officer of Sunderland Live said: “We’re delighted to be helping bring the Roger Albert Clark Rally to Sunderland this year. The rally stage held at Sunderland Festival in 2013 proved there was huge demand for an event of this kind and we’re sure that this will be equally successful.”

Heppenstall says that his target is 190 stage miles, with all the gravel miles contained within the Kielder complex. He is also working to hold the entry fee at 2013 levels despite a 20% increase in competitive mileage. Final details of the route, along with event regulations, will be released in due course.

For more details about the Roger Albert Clark Rally, please visit http://www.rogeralbertclarkrally.org

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