The Loudon-clear guide to… Dayinsure Wales Rally GB

The Loudon-clear guide to… Dayinsure Wales Rally GB

Two Wales Rally GBs in a year. Brilliant. But only just. This week’s event is a fortnight earlier than last season, which means only a 50 rather than 52-week wait for one of the best rallies on the calendar.

I know I’m biased, being British, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to the best drivers in the world, they all say the same thing: these are some of the finest roads of the season.

And they should be in great condition, given a fairly dry run-in to the rally, unlike last season when it only stopped raining long enough to start raining harder.

A few folk are looking at this one as a bit of a dead rubber (technically speaking, it is…), but for me Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinching the drivers’ and co-drivers’ titles only brings clarity to this rally. OK, Volkswagen still has to sort itself out with a fourth straight makes’ crown, but this week’s a straight race for the crews. No maths, no computations, just the desire to win big on a very big rally.

Actually, there is the scrap for silver to be considered. And that’s a belter, with Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jæger and Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul level on points. Famously big Monegasque buddies Mikkelsen and Neuville will square up in Wales this week for the ultimate opportunity for rallying one-upmanship.

But, being a Brit in Britain, predictably, I’m backing the Brits and the Irish. Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle and Craig Breen/Scott Martin have a real opportunity to make us proud this week.

Go well boys.

And don’t forget, just because we’re in Britain this week… we’re not done yet. You’ve got one more Loudon-clear guide coming your way this season: Rally Australia.

After that, there’s a December treat for you with the Loudon-clear guide to 2017 and the brave new world (Rally Championship).

The rally ahead…

FIA World Rally Championship round 12/13

Date: Thursday October 27 – Sunday October 30

Based: Deeside, Wales

Service: Deeside (but it’s called Rally Village)

Stages: 22

Competitive distance: 330.21km (205.19 miles)

Liaison distance: 965.73km (600.10 miles)

Total distance: 1295.94km (805.29 miles)

Longest stage: SS3/7 Hafren 35.14km (21.83 miles)

Shortest stage: SS16 Cholmondeley Castle 1.80km (1.11 miles)

Currency: British pound

Time difference: Complicated this one, it’s BST and GMT this weekend*

Language: English/Welsh

United Kingdom population: 65.1m

Capital: London

Sunrise: 0757
Sunset: 1742


The 3.32km (2.06 miles) shakedown stage is located in Clocaenog forest, 44.37km (27.57 miles) from the service park. A remote service will be run out of Ruthin (Andreas Mikkelsen’s home town when he was 17). The stage runs from 0800-1300.

Dayinsure Wales Rally GB Itinerary

Thursday October 27

Shakedown stage, Clocaenog 3.32 km (2.06 miles)

Ceremonial start, Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay 1830

Friday October 28

SS1 Myherin 1 31.82km (19.77 miles) 0820

SS2 Sweet Lamb 1 4.24km (2.63 miles) 0911

SS3 Hafren 1 35.14km (21.83 miles) 0924

SS4 Dyfnant 1 17.91km (11.12 miles) 1115

Remote tyre zone, Newtown 1236

SS5 Myherin 2 31.82km (19.77 miles) 1354

SS6 Sweet Lamb 2 4.24km (2.63 miles) 1445

SS7 Hafren 2 35.14km (21.83 miles) 1458

SS8 Dyfnant 2 17.91km (11.12 miles) 1649

Chester control 1905

Service Deeside 1945

Saturday October 29  

SS9 Pantperthog 1 9.64km (5.99 miles) 0818

SS10 Dyfi 1 21.12km (13.12 miles) 0851

SS11 Gartheiniog 1 11.34km (7.04 miles) 0927

Corris regroup 1023

SS12 Pantperthog 2 9.64km (5.99 miles) 1104

SS13 Dyfi 2 21.12km (13.12 miles) 1137

SS14 Gartheiniog 2 11.34km (7.04 miles) 1213

SS15 Aberhirnant 13.91km (8.64 miles) 1318

SS16 Cholmondeley Castle 1.80km (1.11 miles) 1541

Service Deeside 1633

Sunday October 30

SS17 Clocaenog 1 7.70km (4.78 miles) 0831

SS18 Brenig 1 7.93km (4.92 miles) 0908

SS19 Alwen 1 10.41km (6.46 miles) 0928

SS20 Clocaenog 2 7.70km (4.78 miles) 1033

SS21 Alwen 2 10.41km (6.46 miles) 1114

SS22 Brenig 2 7.93km (4.92 miles) 1208

Finish Llandudno 1326

Last year…

Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia clinched their third successive Wales Rally GB victory, but found little to celebrate in a hat-trick which came a day after the terrorist attacks in Paris. The event had been hard-fought and well won by the Volkswagen crew, who made the best job of dealing with some appallingly wet conditions. Kris Meeke and Paul Nagle were never far away in their DS 3 WRC, but just couldn’t get close enough to apply the ultimate pressure to the leaders. Andreas Mikkelsen and Ola Fløene ensured there would be two Polo R WRCs on the understandably subdued podium – the final Volkswagen of Jari-Matti Latvala ended its tilt for the top in a Sweet Lamb ditch after what had to be one of the softest shunts of the Finn’s career.

Result: 1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) 3h03m02.0s; 2 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (DS 3 WRC) +26.0s; 3 Andreas Mikkelsen/Ola Fløene (Volkswagen Polo R WRC) +36.2s.

Top 10 running order

1 Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

2 Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

3 Thierry Neuville/Nicolas Gilsoul (Hyundai i20 WRC)

4 Hayden Paddon/John Kennard (Hyundai i20 WRC)

5 Dani Sordo/Marc Marti (Hyundai i20 WRC)

6 Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

7 Mads Østberg/Ola Fløene (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)

8 Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)

9 Kris Meeke/Paul Nagle (Citröen DS3 WRC)

10 Craig Breen/Scott Martin (Citröen DS3 WRC)

Leading WRC2 runners:

32 Teemu Suninen/Mikko Markkula (Škoda Fabia R5)

33 Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (Škoda Fabia R5)

34 Nicolas Fuchs/Fernando Mussano (Škoda Fabia R5)

35 Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (Škoda Fabia R5)

36 Jan Kopecky/Pavel Dresler (Škoda Fabia R5)

38 Marius Aasen/Veronica Engan (Ford Fiesta R5)

40 Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari/Killian Duffy (Škoda Fabia R5)

Leading WRC3/JWRC runners:

61 Simone Tempestini/Giovanni Bernacchini (Citröen DS3 R3T)

62 Michel Fabre/Maxime Vilmot (Citröen DS3 R3T)  

64 Martin Koci/Lukáš Kostka (Citröen DS3 R3T) 

65 Terry Folb/Franck Le Floch (Citröen DS3 R3T) 

66 Vincent Dubert/Alexandre Coria (Citröen DS3 R3T) 

67 Michael Burri/Anderson Levratti (Renault Clio RSR3T)

Stuart Loudon’s key stage: SS1 Myherin 1 31.82km (19.77 miles)

This is definitely not a place to ease your way into this event… Myherin is a fantastic stage, but the boys will all remember running it in the opposite direction. It has been this way around, but nobody will have done it – certainly not with the inclusion of the super-quick road up close to the wind farm. Everybody will be on new notes, which is always a great leveler, but the road itself will be familiar. Much was made of how tricky this would be in Finland this year with the Ouninpohja stage, but Kris Meeke seemed to manage that one OK… The finish of Myherin will be really interesting as well, with a series of hairpins approached at high-speed. Known locally as Pikes Peak, because they’re usually made in the ascent – this time the cars are coming down the hill!

Stuart will be watching… #8 Ott Tänak/Raigo Mõlder (Ford Fiesta RS WRC).

I’ve watched these boys with interest in Wales for the last few years and they’ve definitely shown more than a glimpse of the sort of speed which almost won them Poland this year. Their softer compound DMACKs should work beautifully in Wales this week; those boots on that car with Ott at the wheel and Raigo telling him where to go could be the key to unlock that first world championship win.   

Weather with you:

Wales Rally GB used up its quota of rain last year, so it’s not going to rain this year. Seriously, we’re looking at a bit of cloud (of the non-delivering kind) on Friday and wall-to-wall sunshine on Saturday. Sunday’s going to be a bit of both. Temperatures will range from eight to a fabulous 16 Degrees. 

The media week:

Wednesday October 26

0900-1900 accreditation open (media centre, Deeside)

0800-2000 media centre open (media centre, Deeside)

1730-1815 M-Sport meet the team (media centre, Deeside)

1815-1900 Hyundai media lounge, (media centre, Deeside)

1900 Volkswagen meet the team (media centre, Deeside)

Thursday October 27

0800-1800 accreditation open (media centre, Deeside)

0700-2200 media centre open (media centre, Deeside)

1200 meet the crews (top three from shakedown, service park)

1300 FIA pre-event press conference (media centre, Deeside)

1730 autograph session for P1 drivers (Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay)

1830 ceremonial start (Parc Eirias, Colwyn Bay)

Friday October 28

0700-2230 media centre open (media centre, Deeside)

1900 autograph session (Chester time control)

2000 (approx) meet the top three crews (service park, Deeside)

Saturday October 29

0700-1900 media centre open (media centre, Deeside)

1700 (approx) meet the top three crews (service park, Deeside)

Sunday October 30

0700-2200 media centre open (media centre, Deeside)

1415 podium finish (Llandudno)

1600 FIA post-event press conference (media centre, Deeside)

Stuart’s restaurant recommendation:

On your way back to the press office from Cholmondeley Castle, why not stop off next door at The Cholmondeley Arms? This quintessentially English pub is proud to support local suppliers and, perhaps more importantly, also offers over 300 different Gins. If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, why not try some of the local ales brewed within a 30-mile radius, then take a taxi back to Rally Village! The food’s good too. Try the slow-braised lamb and parsnip hotpot followed by Tom’s sticky toffee pudding. The menu is varied, the place busy. Best to book: or 01829 720300.

Recent winners:

2006: Marcus Grönholm/Timo Rautiainen (Ford Focus RS WRC 06)

2007: Mikko Hirvonen/Jarmo Lehtinen (Ford Focus RS WRC 07)

2008: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citröen C4 WRC)

2009: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citröen C4 WRC)

2010: Sébastien Loeb/Daniel Elena (Citröen C4 WRC)

2011: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)

2012: Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (Ford Fiesta RS WRC)

2013: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

2014: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

2015: Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (Volkswagen Polo R WRC)

Most successful driver on the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB:

Petter Solberg (4 wins)

World Rally Championship stat centre:

Rounds run: 11

Rallye Monte-Carlo (January 21-24), winners: Ogier/ Ingrassia; Rally Sweden (February 4-7), winners: Ogier/Ingrassia; Rally Mexico (March 3-6), winners: Latvala/Anttila; Rally Argentina (April 21-24), winners: Meeke/Nagle; Rally of Portugal (May 19-22), winners: Paddon/Kennard; Rally Italy (June 9-12), winners: Neuville/Gilsoul; Rally Poland (June 30-July 03), Andreas Mikkelsen/Anders Jaeger; Rally Finland (July 28-31), winners: Meeke/Nagle; ADAC Rallye Deutschland (August 18-21), winners: Ogier/ Ingrassia; Tour de Corse (September 29-October 2), winners: Ogier/Ingrassia; Rally RACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada (October 13-16), winners: Ogier/Ingrassia.

Stages completed: 196

Cancelled stages: 10

Accumulated winning time: 37h07m24.7s

Accumulated competitive distance: 3,717.37km (2,311.86 miles)

Accumulated liaison distance: 10,548.54km (6,557.34 miles)

Accumulated total distance: 14,629.91km (9,090.99 miles)

Longest stage of the season so far: Guanajuato (Rally Mexico) 80.00km (49.71 miles)

Shortest stage of the season so far: Street Stage Guanajuato (Rally Mexico) 1.09km (0.67 miles)

Most WRC fastest stage times in 2016

1 Ogier 57

2 Latvala 37

3 Meeke 26

Most WRC stages led in 2016

1 Ogier 69

2 Meeke 45

3 Latvala 31

Most WRC2 fastest stage times in 2016

1 Teemu Suninen 34

2 Lappi 33

=Evans 33

3 Kopecky 27

Most WRC2 stages led in 2016

1 Lappi 44

2 Suninen 40

3 Evans 38

Most Junior WRC fastest stage times in 2016

1 Tempestini 36

2 Veiby 19

3 Terry Folb 9

Most Junior WRC stages led in 2016

1 Tempestini 43

2 Veiby 26

3 Martin Koci 10

Most WRC3 fastest stage times in 2016

1 Michel Fabre 51

2 Andolfi 39

3 Tempestini 34

Most WRC3 stages led in 2016

1 Fabre 59

2 Tempestini 40

3 Veiby 39

Eight drivers have led WRC rounds; thirteen have led WRC2, six have led Junior WRC and eleven have led WRC3 rounds.

WRC standings

1 Ogier 222pts

2 Mikkelsen 127pts

= Neuville 127pts

3 Paddon 114pts

WRC2 standings

1 Evans 120pts

2 Suninen 105pts

3 Lappi 82pts

Junior WRC standings

1 Tempestini 105pts

2 Veiby 62pts

3 Folb 58pts

WRC3 standings

1 Tempestini 105pts

2 Fabre 91pts

= Andolfi 91pts

3 Veiby 73pts

*British Summer Time ends and Greenwich Mean Time begins at 0200 on Sunday October 30 (all you need to know is this gives you an extra hour in bed on Sunday morning…)

Dayinsure Wales Rally GB media contact:
Jonathan Gill

+44 (0)1372 414120

Stuart Loudon media contact:

Sandra Evans

+ 44 7887 693993

Stuart Loudon is a semi-professional co-driver who has started 88 rallies, 19 of which are rounds of the World Rally Championship and one of which was with an Ashes-winning English cricketer. He makes biscuits in the family business when he’s not working towards his dream of becoming a factory co-driver in the WRC.

Stuart Loudon and Words PR work their socks off to make sure every last dot and detail of the document is 100 per cent accurate – but we can’t be responsible for any changes to the itinerary or stage distances.

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I know I’m biased, being British, but don’t take my word for it. Listen to the best drivers in the world, they all say the same thing: these are some of the finest roads of the season.
Stuart Loudon