Rally GB considering closed-road options for future WRC seasons

Rally GB could take advantage of Britain's new closed-road legislation in coming seasons now it has secured its World Rally Championship future

Rally GB considering closed-road options for future WRC seasons

In March, the British government approved primary legislation to enable the Road Traffic Act to be suspended or amended without an Act of Parliament, simplifying the process.

Britain's WRC round had been at risk as the series considered which European event to drop to make room for a planned return to China, but the renewal of its long-term backing deal with the Welsh government through to 2018 has guaranteed its place on the schedule.

Ben Taylor, managing director of Rally GB organiser International Motor Sports, said that while a pure road stage was unlikely at this point, the new legislation offered possibilities for linking forest roads or adding town centre stages.

"The closed road legislation is very interesting," he said.

"When the enabling legislation is enacted, we will look at things like creating a much longer stage out of Dyfi and Gartheiniog, just for the sake of closing 500 metres of public highway.

"And we have to look into the towns - we've got a great relationship with Conwy, our host county and they are as keen as anyone to host something like that in their area."

He added that regardless of the Welsh funding deal, the continuity of staying in the region outweighed any consideration of routes elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

"There was interest from other regions this time, which is illustrative of the fact that this rally is growing in stature," Taylor confirmed.

"But our preference was always to form a new agreement with Wales.

"We really want to build on what we've achieved in north Wales in the last two years.

"In many ways, we're still finding our feet in this area and the businesses are coming to terms with the fact that we're coming back for a third year.

"The value of the move will be felt by local business in years four, five and six.

"Rather than starting again somewhere else, the preference was to build on what we have here."

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