Wales Rally GB

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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.

Contents

History

1932 Royal Automobile Club Rally and Coachwork Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Results

YearEventFinishWinner(s)Vehicle
1932RAC RallyTorquayUnited Kingdom Col. LoughboroughLanchester
1933RAC RallyHastingsUnited Kingdom Miss Kitty BrunellAC Ace
1934RAC RallyBournemouthUnited Kingdom F R G SpikinsSinger Le Mans
1935RAC RallyEastbourneResults unknown
1936RAC RallyTorquayUnited Kingdom C E A WestcottAustin 7
1937RAC RallyHastingsUnited Kingdom Jack HarropJaguar SS100
1938RAC RallyBlackpoolUnited Kingdom Jack HarropJaguar SS100
1939RAC RallyBrightonUnited Kingdom Abiegeg FaneBMW 328
1940–50No Rally held
19511st RAC RallyBournemouthUnited Kingdom Ian Appleyard
United Kingdom Mrs. Pat Appleyard
Jaguar XK120
19522nd RAC RallyScarboroughUnited Kingdom Godfrey Imhof
United Kingdom Mrs. Barbara Frayling
Allard-Cadillac J2
19533rd RAC RallyHastingsUnited Kingdom Ian Appleyard
United Kingdom Mrs. Pat Appleyard
Jaguar XK120
19544th RAC RallyBlackpoolUnited Kingdom John Wallwork
United Kingdom Harold Brooks
Triumph TR2
19555th RAC RallyHastingsUnited Kingdom Jimmy Ray
United Kingdom Brian Horrocks
Standard Ten
19566th RAC RallyBlackpoolUnited Kingdom Lyndon Sims
United Kingdom Rupert Jones
United Kingdom Tony Ambrose
Aston Martin DB2
1957No Rally held
19587th RAC RallyHastingsUnited Kingdom Peter Harper
United Kingdom Dr Bill Deane
Sunbeam Rapier
19598th RAC RallyLondonUnited Kingdom Gerald Burgess
United Kingdom Sam Croft-Pearson
Ford Zephyr Six
19609th RAC RallyBrands HatchSweden Erik Carlsson
United Kingdom Stuart Turner
Saab 96
196110th RAC RallyBrightonSweden Erik Carlsson
United Kingdom John Brown
Saab 96
196211th RAC RallyBournemouthSweden Erik Carlsson
United Kingdom David Stone
Saab 96
196312th RAC RallyBournemouthSweden Tom Trana
Sweden Sune Lundström
Volvo PV544
196413th RAC RallyLondonSweden Tom Trana
Sweden Gunnar Thermanius
Volvo PV544
196514th RAC RallyLondonFinland Rauno Aaltonen
United Kingdom Tony Ambrose
BMC Mini Cooper S 1275
196615th RAC RallyLondonSweden Bengt Söderström
Sweden Gunnar Palm
Lotus Cortina
196716th RAC RallyCancelled due to outbreak of Foot-and-mouth
196817th RAC RallyLondonFinland Simo Lampinen
United Kingdom John Davenport
Saab 96 V4
196918th RAC RallyLondonSweden Harry Kallström
Sweden Gunnar Haggbom
Lancia Fulvia 1.6 Coupé HF
197019th Daily Mirror RAC RallyLondonSweden Harry Kallström
Sweden Gunnar Haggbom
Lancia Fulvia 1.6 Coupé HF
197120th Daily Mirror RAC RallyHarrogateSweden Stig Blomqvist
Sweden Arne Hertz
Saab 96 V4
197221st Daily Mirror RAC RallyYorkUnited Kingdom Roger Clark
United Kingdom Tony Mason
Ford Escort RS1600
197322nd Daily Mirror RAC RallyYorkFinland Timo Mäkinen
United Kingdom Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1600
197423rd Lombard RAC RallyYorkFinland Timo Mäkinen
United Kingdom Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1600
197524th Lombard RAC RallyYorkFinland Timo Mäkinen
United Kingdom Henry Liddon
Ford Escort RS1800
197625th Lombard RAC RallyBathUnited Kingdom Roger Clark
Zaire Stuart Pegg
Ford Escort RS1800
197726th Lombard RAC RallyYorkSweden Björn Waldegård
Sweden Hans Thorszelius
Ford Escort RS1800
197827th Lombard RAC RallyBirminghamFinland Hannu Mikkola
Sweden Arne Hertz
Ford Escort RS1800
197928th Lombard RAC RallyChesterFinland Hannu Mikkola
Sweden Arne Hertz
Ford Escort RS1800
198029th Lombard RAC RallyBathFinland Henri Toivonen
United Kingdom Paul White
Talbot Sunbeam Lotus
198130th Lombard RAC RallyChesterFinland Hannu Mikkola
Sweden Arne Hertz
Audi Quattro
198231st Lombard RAC RallyYorkFinland Hannu Mikkola
Sweden Arne Hertz
Audi Quattro
198332nd Lombard RAC RallyBathSweden Stig Blomqvist
Sweden Björn Cederberg
Audi Quattro A2
198433rd Lombard RAC RallyChesterFinland Ari Vatanen
United Kingdom Terry Harryman
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16
198534th Lombard RAC RallyNottinghamFinland Henri Toivonen
United Kingdom Neil Wilson
Lancia Delta S4
198635th Lombard RAC RallyBathFinland Timo Salonen
Finland Seppo Harjanne
Peugeot 205 Turbo 16 E2
198736th Lombard RAC RallyChesterFinland Juha Kankkunen
Finland Juha Piironen
Lancia Delta HF 4WD
198837th Lombard RAC RallyHarrogateFinland Markku Alen
Finland Ilkka Kivimäki
Lancia Delta Integrale
198938th Lombard RAC RallyNottinghamFinland Pentti Airikkala
Republic of Ireland Ronan McNamee
Mitsubishi Galant VR-4
199046th Lombard RAC RallyHarrogateSpain Carlos Sainz
Spain Luis Moya
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST165
199147th Lombard RAC RallyHarrogateFinland Juha Kankkunen
Finland Juha Piironen
Lancia Delta Integrale 16V
199248th Lombard RAC RallyChesterSpain Carlos Sainz
Spain Luis Moya
Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD
199349th Network Q RAC RallyBirminghamFinland Juha Kankkunen
United Kingdom Nicky Grist
Toyota Celica Turbo 4WD
199450th Network Q RAC RallyChesterUnited Kingdom Colin McRae
United Kingdom Derek Ringer
Subaru Impreza 555
199551st Network Q RAC RallyChesterUnited Kingdom Colin McRae
United Kingdom Derek Ringer
Subaru Impreza 555
199652nd Network Q RAC RallyChesterGermany Armin Schwarz
France Denis Giraudet
Toyota Celica GT-Four ST205
199753rd Network Q RAC RallyCheltenhamUnited Kingdom Colin McRae
United Kingdom Nicky Grist
Subaru Impreza WRC 97
199854th Network Q Rally of Great BritainCheltenhamUnited Kingdom Richard Burns
United Kingdom Robert Reid
Mitsubishi Carisma GT Evo 5
199955th Network Q Rally of Great BritainCheltenhamUnited Kingdom Richard Burns
United Kingdom Robert Reid
Subaru Impreza WRC 99
200056th Network Q Rally of Great BritainCardiffUnited Kingdom Richard Burns
United Kingdom Robert Reid
Subaru Impreza WRC 00
200157th Network Q Rally of Great BritainCardiffFinland Marcus Grönholm
Finland Timo Rautiainen
Peugeot 206 WRC
200258th Network Q Rally of Great BritainCardiffNorway Petter Solberg
United Kingdom Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 02
200359th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffNorway Petter Solberg
United Kingdom Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 03
200460th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffNorway Petter Solberg
United Kingdom Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 04
200561st Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffNorway Petter Solberg
United Kingdom Phil Mills
Subaru Impreza WRC 05
200662nd Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFinland Marcus Grönholm
Finland Timo Rautiainen
Ford Focus RS WRC 06
200763rd Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFinland Mikko Hirvonen
Finland Jarmo Lehtinen
Ford Focus RS WRC 07
200864th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFrance Sébastien Loeb
Monaco Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
200965th Rally of Great BritainCardiffFrance Sébastien Loeb
Monaco Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
201066th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFrance Sébastien Loeb
Monaco Daniel Elena
Citroën C4 WRC
201167th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFinland Jari-Matti Latvala
Finland Miikka Antilla
Ford Fiesta RS WRC
201268th Wales Rally of Great BritainCardiffFinland Jari-Matti Latvala
Finland Miikka Antilla
Ford Fiesta RS WRC

References

External links