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Wales Rally GB secures three year Welsh forests deal

Hyundai Motorsport's Driver Hayden Paddon and co-driver John Kennard during last year's Wales Rally GB. Credit: Nigel French/PA

A three year deal has been signed between Natural Resources Wales and the Motor Sports Association to allow Wales Rally GB to use Welsh forests for the next three years.

This deal follows NRW's announcement earlier on in the year that it needed to ensure the cost of repairing forestry roads after rallying events was covered by the rally organisers.

The forest roads we look after have achieved almost legendary status in the world of rallying.

With more than 84,000 visitors attending this event alone, it is clear that rallying makes an important contribution to our rural economy.

– Tim Jones, Natural Resources Wales’ Executive Director of Operations for North and Mid Wales

The new three-year access agreement confirms the confidence that MSA and NRW have in each other, and forms the essential platform for us to continue to focus on mileage charges and the wider partnership between our two organisations.

– Rob Jones, MSA Chief Executive

Muted celebrations for Sebastien Ogier after Wales Rally GB win

World champion Sebastien Ogier registered his eighth win of the year in the season-ending Wales Rally GB, but the Frenchman was in no mood to celebrate in the wake of the Paris shootings.

Credit: Nigel French/PA Wire

The Volkswagen Polo R driver beat Kris Meeke - recording the best finish in a home event by a Briton in 15 years - in his Citroen DS 3 by 26 seconds with Norway's Andreas Mikkelsen third in another Polo R.

At the end of the final power stage Ogier, after a third successive victory in the event, got out of his car and draped a tricolour across his windscreen and the French national flag was in evidence again at a muted podium presentation.

Victory here is the best way to finish the season but there is no point to celebrate anything. We have other things on our mind. It has been a difficult weekend.

– Sebastien Ogier, World Rally Champion


Welsh driver Elfyn Evans to join M-Sport for 2014

Welsh driver Elfyn Evans steps up to a full WRC campaign as it's announced he will join M-Sport for 2014 Credit: Wales Rally GB

Welsh rally driver Elfyn Evans will join the M-Sport World Rally Team's 2014 line-up, it has been announced.

It comes after the 24-year-old, based at Dolgellau in Gwynedd, won the WRC Academy in 2012 and took top WRC2 honours in last month’s Wales Rally GB.

He said: “It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to know that I will be driving a world rally car for a full season next year.

"This is just the first step and I am extremely grateful to M-Sport for this opportunity and their belief in my future.”

Wales Rally GB launches in Conwy

It's the final round of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship. Credit: David Davies/PA Wire

A worldwide audience of motor racing fans will tune in to Conwy later, with the ceremonial start of the final round of the World Rally Championship.

North Wales is a new home for the Wales Rally GB which is expected to plough 5 million pounds into the local economy.

The event finishes in Llandudno.


Wales Rally GB to move to North Wales

The Wales Rally GB has been based in South Wales since 2000. Credit: PA

Wales Rally GB is moving to North Wales this November.

Organisers say the 2013 rally's headquarters will be on Deeside, the ceremonial start will be in Conwy, and the finishing line celebrations in Llandudno.

The route will be more compact than in previous years, with more forest stages.

Night-time spectator stages are being reintroduced.

"The move to North Wales has a number of significant advantages. Most importantly, perhaps, we are closer to the sport’s traditional heartlands, some iconic rally forests", Andrew Coe, Chief Executive of rally organiser International Motor Sports, said.

Wales Rally GB is the final round of the World Rally Championship (WRC).

More details on the event, which will run between 14 and 17 November, will be released next month.

The rally has been run 68 times since 1932.

There had been doubts over the 2013 event, because of funding issues, but the Welsh Government agreed a deal with organisers back last September.