International Motor Sports (IMS) Ltd has confirmed that it has reached an agreement with the Welsh Government to continue its support of Wales Rally GB until the end of 2018.
The UK’s round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has been branded Wales Rally GB since the Welsh Government became principal funding partner in 2003. Now, a new deal will extend this successful partnership for an additional three years making it one of the longest running title affiliations in British sport.
“We are delighted to have agreed a new deal with the Welsh Government whose support has been critical to the long standing success of Wales Rally GB,” said Ben Taylor, managing director of IMS. “Their forward thinking strategy allows our event to deliver around £10m (US$15.6m) of economic value to the Welsh economy in addition to a world-class event that brings business, tourism and many other commercial benefits to the country. The move to north Wales has been a great success in recent years; we can now look forward to building on that platform and implementing exciting new plans to grow the event still further. The Welsh Government’s extended support for this international event is fantastic news not only for rallying in Wales but also for the motor sport sector in the UK.”
Since its inception in 1932, the International Rally of Great Britain has been run 70 times. Enforced stoppages have included World War 2, Suez Crisis (1957) and Foot and Mouth (1967). It is one of only two events (along with Finland) to have retained its status as both a qualifying and scoring round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) since the championship was established in 1973.
Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, added: “I’m pleased that we can announce an extension to our successful partnership with IMS to support the Wales Rally GB for a further three years. This world-class event continues to go from strength to strength and has developed a strong profile on the World Rally Championship calendar.
“Developments such as the Rallyfest stages have proved invaluable in appealing to a wider audience, making the sport more open and accessible to all, attracting more visitors and bringing additional economic benefits as a result.
“The Rally provides an ideal platform for Wales to showcase its wide range of capabilities, including its spectacular sceneries, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Industries and its ability to successfully deliver world-class major events. With the funding now in place, we can look forward to an even greater event in 2016.”