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Sunday, 17 November, 2002, 19:46 GMT
Rally coup to bring 50m boost
Rally car and crowd
Rally fans generate valuable income when they visit
Wales has won the bid to retain the final stage of the prestigious World Rally Championship.

And it was revealed on Sunday that a new sponsorship deal could mean as much as 50m being ploughed into the Welsh economy.


This is a fantastic coup for Wales

Economic Minister Andrew Davies

The final leg of the championship will remain in Wales for the next four years, and will be renamed the Wales Rally GB.

The news was announced by Welsh Assembly Economic Development Minister Andrew Davies, just minutes after the finale of the Rally of Great Britain 2002 on Sunday.

Agencies like the Wales Tourist Board and the Welsh Development Agency have been keen to retain the event, which has been held in Wales for three years.

They realised the spin-off effects which, as well as boosting income for businesses, include projecting the image of Wales to the world.

Impressive

The WDA and the Welsh Assembly Government have been negotiating for several months in a bid to strike a deal with rally organisers.

Their success in impressing the golfing authorities sufficiently to attract the Ryder Cup gave them extra reason to be hopeful.

Following the announcement in Cardiff, the wraps were pulled off a Ford Focus in the new Wales Rally GB livery, amid a laser and fireworks display.

Economic experts have also suggested it will bring economic opportunities in the areas like high performance engineering and the development of new automotive technologies.

map showing Brechfa Forest
Safety was tightened after problems at Brechfa

They believe benefits over the next four years will include:

  • 43.2m directly into the Welsh economy
  • Sourcing opportunities to provide goods and services to the rally worth 3.5m
  • TV promotion of Wales as a business base, the direct value of which is estimated at 4.2m in the UK alone
  • 260 million opportunities to see or hear about Wales and the rally.

    "This is a fantastic coup for Wales, coming on top of our success in attracting the Ryder Cup," Mr Davies said.

    "It not only offers a tremendous opportunity to promote and publicise Wales as a tourism destination but will serve as an excellent platform to promote the automotive sector which is hugely important for the Welsh economy."

    WDA Chairman Roger Jones said the potential spin-off benefits for the Welsh economy were long-term, Wales-wide, and highly significant.

    "Our long term association with the rally is a powerful tool to develop the existing cluster of auto companies in Wales, expand research and development, and create a centre of excellence in high performance engineering," he said.

    New relationship

    "We are already receiving serious enquiries from key players in both the motorsport and automotive industries and currently discussing a number of very significant projects which could create a new dynamic high performance engineering cluster."

    The new branding arrangement marks the start of a new relationship with International Sportsworld Communicators (ISC) - the owners of the entire commercial rights for the World Rally Championship (WRC).

    David Richards, Chairman, ISC, said Wales has proved to be a fantastic setting.

    "Significant investment has already been made in creating an infrastructure that will support this international event and there is enormous opportunity from this new partnership to develop the facilities and features of the rally even further," he said.

    John Grant, incoming chairman of Motor Sports Association, confirmed that the new deal provided exciting prospects for the future.

    "The Rally of Great Britain is one of the longest established and challenging events in the current World Rally Championship," he said,


  • More from south west Wales

    More from south east Wales
    See also:

    16 Nov 02 | World Rally
    26 Jan 02 | Wales
    27 Nov 01 | Wales
    26 Nov 01 | Wales
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