New Welsh deal secures Rally GB's World Rally Championship future

Rally GB's World Rally Championship future has been secured with the completion of its new deal with its backer, the Welsh government

New Welsh deal secures Rally GB's World Rally Championship future

The event had been among several European WRC rounds in jeopardy amid teams' push for a return to China, and its place was dependent on renewing the Wales funding.

An announcement on Wednesday morning confirmed that Welsh backing would continue until at least 2018, prolonging a relationship that began in 2003.

WRC Promoter chief Oliver Ciesla said the intention was now to keep GB on the schedule.

"As the promoter we have the possibility to propose the calendar to the WRC Commission and, in the next instance, the World Motor Sport Council," Ciesla told AUTOSPORT.

"I can confirm that it is our intention to propose Rally GB for 2016 to this calendar."

Ciesla would not be drawn on speculation about the date for Rally GB.

It has been tipped to move from November to October, with Australia taking over as the final round of the championship.

Wales' backing of Rally GB is reported to be worth more than £4million over the next three years and event managing director Ben Taylor said it would be put to good use.

"Like I said before, we have no divine right to a place on the calendar, but we believe we are worthy for a number of reasons," said Taylor.

"It's fantastic to have the three-year extension.

"We have big plans and becoming the best rally in the world has to be our ambition.

"If we're not striving to be the best rally in the world then we're not doing our job properly.

"We need to build on this news. I'm very ambitious and I wouldn't have taken this on if I didn't think we could make some even bigger strides in the future.

"I'd love to be the benchmark by which [other rallies] measure themselves."

FIA WRC manager Michele Mouton said she was pleased to see Wales in for next season.

"For me Rally GB is part of our heritage and it's important to have it in the championship," she said.

"It's not easy to build the calendar, it's about the balance of the heritage and history and the new markets, which the manufacturers are pushing for."

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