FAMOUS HOME WIN TOPS ‘PERFECT WEEKEND’ IN WALES
The stars aligned to produce an incredible 2017 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. The autumnal weather was kind, the legendary Welsh forest tracks were in perfect condition and the new generation of more powerful WRC cars drew in fans from around the world.
Then there was the added excitement of World Champions being crowned: British team M-Sport lifting the Manufacturers’ crown for the very first time; Sébastien Ogier and his co-driver Julien Ingrassia capturing their fifth titles and, to top it all, not only a British overall winner but, in local hero Elfyn Evans, a Welsh one, too!
It all added up to one of the most remarkable events in the long-running history of Rally GB.
It started with a spectacular new opening on Thursday evening, staged under the floodlights at Tir Prince Raceway, and climaxed with M-Sport, Ogier, Ingrassia and Evans all celebrating their successes on a packed Mostyn Street in Llandudno.
In between, the classic Welsh stages witnessed three-days of compelling action watched by more than 100,000 visitors – the biggest crowd since the rally’s move to north Wales in 2013 – with visits to historic Chester city centre and the Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley bringing the sport closer to even wider audiences.
“We could not have dreamed of a more perfect weekend,” admitted Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Dayinsure Wales Rally GB. “Great weather, huge crowds, world champions, British success and, right at the top, Elfyn Evans, the first-ever Welsh driver to win this event. You could hardly have scripted all of that!
“It was a wonderful showcase for Wales as a destination, beaming stunning images and amazing landscapes to more than 60 million people around the globe. We must thank the Welsh Government, our principal funding partner, for its long-standing enthusiasm and support, as well as all our other partners and sponsors. Then there’s the 2,000 volunteer marshals without whom the rally simply could not happen and, of course, the fans who turned up in record numbers to create a memorable atmosphere.
“With so many epic storylines, this year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB is going to be tough to emulate. Even so, we are already planning ahead and looking forward to staging an even bigger and better event next October.”
The Welsh Government’s proactive support for the UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship not only brings more than £8m of economic benefit to the region but also delivers in many other ways. One of its notable successes is the Big Bang STEM Event staged alongside the WRC paddock in the busy Deeside Rally Village. Celebrating science, technology, engineering and maths subjects, since 2013 the Big Bang has attracted more than 10,000 students from local schools, inspiring them towards future careers in key industries.
Economy Secretary, Ken Skates, said: “I was delighted to be at the ceremonial start at Tir Prince as we were gearing up for this spectacular event. We couldn’t have had a more legendary weekend to bring our Year of Legends to a close. As the drivers took on some of the best rally stages in the world – a global TV audience had a chance to see Wales’ epic landscapes. And, having Elfyn Evans as the first-ever Welsh driver to win this event was the perfect result. We’re already looking forward to next year.”
Dayinsure joined the event as title sponsor last year, renewing a two-year agreement at the start of this season that will see the brand associated with the rally into 2018.
“Taking over title sponsorship of the event has totally transformed our business by introducing the many benefits of temporary vehicle insurance to far wider audiences – and now Elfyn’s stunning victory is helping us to spread the word still further,” enthused Barry Bown, Dayinsure’s Chief Operating Officer. “Having stuck our toes in the water in 2016, we significantly stepped up our involvement and activation this year, notably with our interactive family entertainment zone at Cholmondeley Castle which proved to be a big hit with those all ages. Now, we are already looking forward to building on these successes in 2018.”
As well as significant support from the Welsh Government, Dayinsure Wales Rally GB continues to receive great backing from Conwy County Borough Council, the event’s official Host County.
“We’re thrilled to have been Host County once again for this prestigious World Championship event, but to have a Welsh winner this year made it an extra special Ceremonial Finish in Llandudno,” said Councillor Louise Emery, CCBC’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development. “We’ve worked with Wales Rally GB since 2009, and each year the number of spectators the rally has attracted to Conwy County has increased. The new start in Tir Prince worked well, and feedback from the stages in Gwydir, Alwen and Brenig has been great. We simply couldn’t afford to buy the worldwide media coverage that comes with this event, so we’re excited to work with the rally team again in 2018.”
Next year’s Dayinsure Wales Rally GB will take place on the earlier date of 4-7 October 2018.