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A new date, a new route and a partnership with Rally 2WD will give the Red Kite Stages a new look for 2018.

In a break with tradition, this popular forest event from Amman and District Motor Club will move to the forests of South Wales on Saturday 23 June and will run to the innovative new Rally 2WD format, with all the two-wheel drive cars running first on the road.

Clerk of the Course Gareth Thomas explained the changes. “After a route recce back in June and early July the route we’re proposing to use includes stages in Resolven, Rheola and Margam. These are stages that have not been used since Wales Rally GB, four or five years ago.

“The stages have been driven in a modern road car with minimal ground clearance and are all in very good condition. The primary objective of Rally 2WD is to get competitors back out and we think our event will fit that concept very well.”

The mid-summer date should ensure that these superb stages are in perfect condition. Only around 15 miles of the 45 stage miles will be double-used and the organisers are planning the start and central servicing close to Neath town centre. Scrutineering will be on Friday 22 June with the possibility of Saturday morning sessions for the four-wheel drive cars.

“After running from a base in Llandovery for 20 years there is a lot of work involved in moving a complete event. Most of the key elements are now in place,” said Thomas. A town centre start for at least some competitors is under discussion.

Rally 2WD is a bold new initiative that has been launched in a bid to rekindle support for gravel rallying for modern and historic two-wheel drive cars. Rally 2WD events will put the entire two-wheel drive field through all stages first to complete their competitive mileage, followed as soon as possible by the four-wheel drive field. It has been created to try and reverse the alarming decline in the number of entries on many gravel rallies this season, a decline that is widely regarded as a key result of the change to running order on rallies.

On behalf of Rally 2WD, Simon Wallis said: “Gareth and the team at Amman and DMC have really embraced the R2WD concept and we are certain that the new route and date will prove very popular with competitors in both modern and historic two-wheel drive cars. We are delighted that the Red Kite will run to the R2WD format.”

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