|In little more than two weeks’ time, Wales Rally GB will burst into action with a spectacular Opening Ceremony staged in Eirias Stadium, Colwyn Bay.In readiness for three days of high-speed World Championship action in the legendary Welsh forests, all the top competitors will be part of a high-octane show under the floodlights on Thursday evening (13 November).Admittance to the celebrated event’s official Ceremonial Start will be totally FREE of charge to all ages and a huge crowd is expected to take advantage of this opportunity to see the WRC cars and stars up close. Eirias Stadium, of course, is well prepared for large numbers of spectators – it is the home of Wales’ Under 20s Rugby Union team and in recent months has hosted massive music concerts for major artists such as Jessie J and Tom Jones.
Once the gates open at 17:30, visitors will be allowed to walk on the rugby pitch among all the amazing high-tech machines that will be competing against the clock for Wales Rally GB honours.
Between 18:00-18:30 there will be a special autograph session featuring all the WRC’s top drivers including both Sébastien Ogier, the newly-crowned 2014 World Rally Champion and local favourite Elfyn Evans. The WRC regulars will also be joined by several of the sport’s most famous icons including rallying superstar Ari Vatanen, who is this year’s official Rally Legend. Access to the 30-minute autograph session will be strictly on a first come, first served basis.
The final build-up to the Ceremonial Start will then blast off with an explosive fire dance show when MishMash Management presents Flame Oz for a performance of high-impact circus artistry and stunning imagery all choreographed to a dramatic soundtrack. Following that, the magnificent Cambria Welsh Marching Band will lead a colourful flag procession. Senior and junior rugby players from Rygbi Gogledd Cymru (RGC) will carry flags representing all 27 competing countries.
With the scene now set in the stadium, the competition cars will be waved away over the purpose-built Wales Rally GB podium ramp before a dazzling fireworks display brings a stunning evening of FREE entertainment to a fitting close.
“It’s great to see Eirias Stadium hosting another high-profile event attracting attention from all over the world and showcasing Conwy County as a great destination to visit,” said Councilor Graham Rees, Conwy’s Cabinet Member for Tourism, Marketing and Leisure. “The number of spectators expected to come to enjoy the event will mean a valuable boost to the local economy, and I am confident it will be a fantastic evening filled with high-energy entertainment and of course the main attraction, the WRGB cars and competitors.”
Eirias Stadium is one of the cornerstones of the £52m Bay Life regeneration of Colwyn Bay. Rupert Moon, former Wales International rugby player and now spokesperson for the Bay Life Regeneration Programme is understandably delighted to see a World Championship event coming to the venue. “By showing tourists and visitors what we have to offer, events like this are helping us to build a sustainable future for local businesses throughout the year, making Colwyn Bay more than just a one-trick pony,” explained Moon. “Our retail businesses for example now flourish out of holiday season as the exposure from events encourages more people to return. By focusing on inward investment in the town’s infrastructure, we hope to provide the opportunity for more activities like Wales Rally GB which make a remarkable difference to business in the town.”
The public is also offered free entry to the busy Wales Rally GB Service Park in Deeside as well as Friday’s remote service in Newtown and Sunday afternoon’s Ceremonial Finish in Llandudno where the winners will be crowned. Tickets to see the high-flying action in the forests start from just £20 and are available either via the official www.walesrallygb.com website or the ticket hotline on 0844 847 2251.
WALES RALLY GB OPENING CEREMONY
EIRIAS STADIUM THURSDAY 13 NOVEMBER
17:30 Gates open
17:30-18:30 Rally car viewing on the pitch
18:00-18:30 Autograph session
18:40-19:00 Entertainment Show
19:00-20:30 Wales Rally GB teams over the Podium Ramp
20:30 Firework display