Toyota Gazoo Racing and the spectacular Yaris WRC head to the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB from 26-29 October 2017, and the advice from ex-Toyota co-driver and Rally GB winner Nicky Grist is to get into the Welsh forests for the ultimate Wales Rally GB experience.
We’ve put together a guide of the choicest stages each day, plus a couple of opportunities to get up close to the Yaris WRC that won’t require quite as much effort – Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle, and the Deeside Rally Village hosted by Toyota Manufacturing UK.
Every day: Deeside Rally Village
Returning to Toyota’s factory in Deeside, the Deeside Rally Village is the ‘pits and paddock’ where the teams prepare (and repair) the cars. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get up close to the incredible hardware of the modern WRC, as well as seeing the stars of the show. Entry is free, so it’s worth stopping by to experience the sights and sounds of the World Rally Championship as well as a full schedule of entertainment.
Day 1: Conwy Tir Prince
The rally starts on Thursday evening with a short, fan-centric stage at Conwy Tir Prince on the North Wales coast. The 1.6km stage is hosted at the Tir Prince trotting track, with cars running under floodlights around the slalom and hairpin layout. With all the facilities on-site, and opportunities to meet the teams and get autographs, it’s a great way to ease into the weekend. Tickets cost just £10 in advance.
Day 2: Myherin
The second day features a trio of famous forest stages: Myherin, Sweet Lamb and Hafren. We’ve chosen Myherin as our top pick for Friday for two reasons: it’s one of Toyota star Jari-Matti Latvala’s favourites, and offers fabulous views for spectators. Run twice during the – day – at 10.20 and 14.31 – it’s a fast, 19.45km stage that tempts drivers to push the limits through the long gravel corners. Described as ‘a bit like Finland but without the jumps’, we can see why Jari-Matti likes it!
Day 3: Gartheiniog and Dyfi
Chosen by Nicky Grist in our interview (LINK), the fast, technical stages of Gartheiniog and Dyfi are right next to each other, making for a tantalising three or four hours of non-stop rally action in the middle of day three. The 12.6km Gartheiniog stage runs through a valley, making for a great sensory experience as the sounds reverberate through the forest valley. Flowing but with some tight hairpins, the mix of the stage presents challenges, particularly working the brakes hard.
At 25.86km, Dyfi is double the length of Garthiniog. Snaking up through the forest, the gravel surface is often slippery with standing water after rain that drivers have to be ready for.
Day 3: Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondeley Castle
If you don’t fancy trudging through the forests, then head to the fan- and family-friendly Toyota RallyFest at Cholmondley Castle on Saturday for a day of entertainment that includes tyre-burning donuts, supercars, a display of Toyota’s classic rally cars, and much more. A highlight will be the autograph and selfie session with the drivers ahead of Special Stage 14, a 1.8km dash along the asphalt driveway of Cholmondeley Castle.
Day 4: Alwen
Staying up in north Wales for the final day of the rally, the teams will have two runs through Alwen on Sunday morning. This 10.41km route requires high speed and precision braking on its low grip surface, so there’s plenty of time to make – and lose – in this forest. Best of all, it’s a short hop across to the final stage at Brenig to see the winners crowned.
Where to watch Rally GB on TV
Can’t make it to Wales? Coverage of the Wales Rally GB will be available on BT Sport and Channel 5, as well as full live coverage on the WRC website.