Witnessing more than 150 flame-spitting rally cars flying flat-chat through the forests is a mind-blowing experience and an integral part of this month’s Wales Rally GB (November 12-15).
For those looking to get a little more up close and personal to the stars and cars, a visit to Deeside Service Park is a must.
The beating heart of the event, last year the 10-acre Toyota Manufacturing engine plant site welcomed some 20,000 visitors over the rally’s duration, as fans revelled in the wide range of entertainment on offer. This year’s Wales Rally GB is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever – and so is Deeside.
The Service Park is not only the rally’s pits-and-paddock complex where the teams are based and where their technicians fully service the high-tech, mud-splattered rally cars in minutes – an astonishing sight nobody should miss.
But it is also home to the Rally Village, an exciting destination offering plenty of entertainment for all the family. A giant screen will transmit live coverage of the dramatic action taking place on the special stages, while other attractions include zip-wire, Segway two-wheeler, 4×4 experience, fun fair, simulator, display of historic rally cars and a sparkling firework display on Saturday evening, while children can climb behind the wheel of mini tanks.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Colin McRae becoming Britain’s first-ever world rally champion, the Scot’s title-winning 1995 Subaru Impreza 555 will be on show as part of a special tribute to the most famous name in rallying.
The centrepiece of a Big Bang marquee will be the phenomenal Bloodhound SSC Supersonic Car, which is a surefire crowd-pleaser. On the Thursday and Friday, the Big Bang event organised by the Welsh Government will bring in 1,500 students from local schools as part of an inspirational programme of STEM-based activities.
On top of this, there will be the usual merchandise stores, a range of food outlets, live music in the Carlsberg Bar and pulsating sounds from the Red Bull DJ – all combining to create a humming Service Park atmosphere.
“The Deeside Service Park and Rally Village is the hub of the rally during the four days,” enthused Wales Rally GB managing director Ben Taylor. “This is the place to get up close to the cars and stars, and even when the drivers are out on the stages, the action doesn’t stop.
“We’ve put more entertainment in this year to make the atmosphere even more amazing and the best thing of all is that it is completely free – meaning it is accessible to everyone and fun for all the family.”
The Deeside Service Park will be free to enter and will be open from 09:00 – 22:00 on Thursday, 06:00 – 22:00 on Friday, 05:00 – 23:59 on Saturday and 07:00 – 17:00 on Sunday.
A complimentary park-and-ride scheme will operate while the Service Park is open to spectators. Visitors should leave the A494 joining the A548 towards Deeside Industrial Park and follow yellow WRGB directional signage.
There will be strictly no parking on-site or on any of the surrounding roads. Visitors are advised to tune into the event’s dedicated Wales Rally FM radio station on 87.7FM for the latest information.
With two British drivers to the fore, huge numbers are expected in the legendary Welsh forests this month. Tickets are selling fast, with advance tickets offering the best prices for all stages.
The four-day World Rally Pass is the all-inclusive ticket for fans. It provides access to all the individual Special Stages as well as Thursday’s pre-event Shakedown. It is priced at £99 for adults (or just £1 for accompanied children aged 9-15) and comes with a desirable hard card and lanyard plus an event programme valued at £9.
Forest Passes offer a similar level of flexibility as the World Rally Pass but just for an individual day of the event. Again they include an official programme and can be purchased in advance for just £25 – a considerable saving on Single Stage tickets which will cost £30 on the day. Tickets for the family friendly RallyFest at Chirk Castle are available for £25 with an even greater discount being offered to families. Full ticket information can be found on the WalesRallyGB.com website.
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