Rally GB set for even more compact route

This year's Network Q Rally Great Britain looks set to be based on an even more compact route than in recent years, with many classic mid-Wales stages losing out as the event concentrates on the south of the principality

Rally GB set for even more compact route

The Rally GB adopted a more World Rally Championship-friendly format in the '90s, gradually losing stages in the North of England and the Lake District and finally shedding its 'Mickey Mouse' Sunday spectator stages last year to become an entirely Welsh-based rally. But the move away from Mid-Wales means the whole rally will now be centralised around its Cardiff HQ.

According to this week's Motorsport News, the route will stay south of Brecon and will miss out such Rally GB mainstays as Hafren, Myherin and the popular Sweet Lamb spectator stage. The service area at Builth Wells is also likely to go, with a centralised service in Cardiff sufficing for three days.

Sweet Lamb owner Simon Bennett-Evans expressed disappointment at the expected switch away from Mid-Wales.

"If this is the case then I feel sorry for the thousands of rally fans who have visited over the years," he said. "This is the best and most spectacular place to watch rally cars anywhere and now, for reasons best known to themselves, it looks like they're staying in the south. It's a sad day for Sweet Lamb."

A formal statement on the route is expected next week, in line with the FIA's timetable for releasing event schedules. But a spokesman for the organisers, the Motor Sports Association, told Motorsport News: "Any announcements we make will be made with assumptions about foot and mouth disease. This year's route hasn't been affected by the disease, but the FIA (the sport's world governing body) understands fully that we may have to make changes due to foot and mouth."

The 2001 Rally GB, the final round of the WRC, runs from November 23-25.

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