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• Busy Dayinsure Wales Rally GB preview at Cholmondeley Castle
• ‘Excitement building’ for British round of globe-trotting FIA World Rally Championship
• Spectacular new-generation cars and thrilling title fight
• Welsh Government minister praises ‘economic and social impact’ of world-class event

The countdown is on! There are now just five weeks until the fast-and-furious, all-action FIA World Rally Championship roars into Britain for Dayinsure Wales Rally GB (26-29 October), with a busy preview at Cholmondeley Castle setting the scene for one of the most eagerly-anticipated events in living memory.

The 2017 WRC campaign has been a flat-out thriller from the word ‘go’, with no fewer than six different winners from the opening ten rounds and a breathtaking four-way title tussle. A new generation of spectacular four-wheel drive rally beasts has captivated fans all around the globe, and a brace of front-running Brits raises real hopes of a homegrown winner at the end of next month. Gather the ingredients and season with a hint of spice, and we are all-set for the most exciting and unpredictable Dayinsure Wales Rally GB in years.

Competing crews will tackle a marathon four days of world-class high-octane action set largely in the legendary Welsh forests, with a new opening speed test under the floodlights at Tir Prince Raceway on Thursday (26 October) and the much-heralded return of night stages on Saturday (28 October) adding to the challenge.

The family-friendly RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle – attended by some 10,000 fans last year and now sponsored by the event’s ‘Official Car Partner’ Toyota – is back on the bill to popular acclaim, with a revised timetable and a host of entertainment features to further enhance the overall spectator experience.

Leading the WRC standings at present is defending four-time title-holder Sébastien Ogier, who is gunning for an unprecedented fifth consecutive triumph on British shores. If he is to do so, however, the Frenchman will need to successfully fend off the challenges of Citroën star Kris Meeke and his own M-Sport team-mate Elfyn Evans.

The latter is very much the local hero, hailing from Dolgellau, and whilst he could not be present at Cholmondeley today as he prepares for the forthcoming Spanish outing on the WRC calendar, he did send a message revealing just how much he is looking forward to competing on home soil.

“We’re really in for a classic event,” Evans enthused. “There are some fantastic stages on Dayinsure Wales Rally GB and this year, they will be combined with an element of endurance. Saturday in particular will be a tough stint, going back out in the evening in the dark – that will be tricky, as will the whole rally, to be fair.

“From a personal perspective, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB should present us with a really good opportunity. The feeling driving these new-generation cars has been absolutely incredible all season, and I really hope that the spectacle on the outside will be everything that it is for us inside the car. I hope to see a lot of fans out there on the stages cheering us on. It’s normally a fantastic atmosphere, and I’m sure this year will be no exception. Hopefully we can bring home a great result.”

Although Evans could not make it, other British hopes did attend today’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB official preview, with Seb Marshall – co-driver to 2016 Rally Argentina winner Hayden Paddon – confirming Hyundai’s biggest-ever attack on the event, while Tom Cave and Chris Ingram flew the flag as two of the UK’s finest young future prospects.

Other key figures present at Cholmondeley included Ken Skates – Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure in the Welsh Government, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB’s Principal Funding Partner – and Dennis Ryan, Founder and Chairman of local short-term vehicle insurance firm Dayinsure, freshly signed up for a further two years of title sponsorship.

Also announced on the day was an exciting initiative to celebrate Welsh Rally Legends in 2017, with several of the recipients of this prestigious new accolade putting in an appearance. These included 2003 FIA World Rally Championship-winning co-driver Phil Mills, Nicky Grist – a winner of 21 WRC rounds alongside Juha Kankkunen and Colin McRae – and former British Champions David Llewellin, Phil Pugh and Howard Davies. Crowd favourite Phil Collins and 1985 winning co-driver Neil Wilson completed the day’s ‘Legends’ line-up, and all and more will be honoured on the event.

Following a morning presentation, the day’s activities concluded with a series of edge-of-the-seat passenger rides for attending media, with current and historic cars alike taking to the very same special stage that will play host to the Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle on Saturday, 28 October.

Ken Skates, Welsh Government Economy Secretary:
“I’m delighted to be here today as we look forward to the 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. As one of the final events on the calendar for 2017, this legendary event is the perfect close to Wales’ Year of Legends. It’s been a legendary summer of sport – from hosting the Champions League Final in June to the ICC Champions Trophy and then the Seniors Open in July – meaning Wales Rally GB is in good company, and there’s no doubting Wales’ event-hosting pedigree. Wales Rally GB is a showcase of Wales’ natural landscape, uses many of the classic Welsh forest stages and is a great boost for the local economy.

“We support this event for its economic and social impact. Tourism in Wales is in a strong position, and Dayinsure Wales Rally GB contributes to the growing reputation that north Wales enjoys globally as an adventure and outdoor destination.

“The Welsh Government’s continued support for Wales Rally GB also gives us the opportunity to engage further with the automotive and performance engineering sector in Wales. This is home to around 150 component and systems manufacturing companies, employing 18,500 people within automotive manufacturing with an annual turnover of some £3 billion.

“Finally, being at Cholmondeley Castle today is an excellent opportunity for us to emphasise the benefits of cross-border working – which is especially the case in the automotive sector. Effective cross-border working is essential if we are to attract investment and achieve maximum benefits.”

Dennis Ryan, Founder and Chairman of Dayinsure:
“It’s no exaggeration to say that taking over the title sponsorship of Wales Rally GB has helped to transform our business. I’ve had a love of cars all my life and was one of the boys in the forest watching the old RAC Rally back in the 1980s, so this was a fantastic opportunity to which I could hardly say no and commercially, it has been a great success for us. Looking forward, we have made the decision to step our game up a little bit this year and as such will be providing more entertainment for people at Cholmondeley while they are waiting for the rally cars to arrive.”

Rachael Gill, Marketing Communications Manager, Conwy County Borough Council:
“As a council, tourism is at the heart of everything we do and as such, events like this are key to our DNA. There is so much energy around the event, and Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is absolutely essential to what we do and essential to the economy of north Wales. Visit Conwy Tir Prince will provide an amazing opening night of lights, camera, action and that is typical of the family-friendly activities on offer, as we try to open up this magnificent sport to new audiences. This is about putting Wales on the map and we are committed to working with Dayinsure Wales Rally GB in 2018 too, with even more exciting developments in the pipeline.”

Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB:
“Excitement is building. We have seen a significant rise in pre-event ticket sales and our aim is to build on the success of last year, which was already a fabulous event. We have a really strong route, with 300km of stages through the legendary Welsh forests, and it’s brilliant to be going back to Chester and Cholmondeley Castle again.

“What makes Dayinsure Wales Rally GB so special, though, is that it is so much more than four days of high-speed motor sport. What we are doing is bringing a World Championship event into the region, which builds a platform for activities and communication throughout the year with people in the local community.

“The Welsh Government don’t just support the event because they are rallying fans, they support Dayinsure Wales Rally GB because it brings real, tangible benefits to the region and the country as a whole – real benefits for real communities. They have been an extraordinary partner for many years, and I must thank them and all of our other incredible sponsors for their fabulous support.”

All those wanting to catch the world-class action – and, perhaps, to witness the 2017 WRC champion being crowned – can take advantage of considerable discounts being offered to those buying their Dayinsure Wales Rally GB tickets in advance. For those purchasing now, 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 http://www.walesrallygb.com website.

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