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Wales and Scarlets international Ken Owens lends his support to the Wales Rally GB launch in spectacular North Wales landscape in Llyn Brenig saying it was “a brilliant event for the whole country and important to support world-class sports events in Wales”. He was joined by leading WRC drivers Elfyn Evans, Kris Meeke, Hayden Paddon and multiple downhill mountain bike racing world champion Gee Atherton.

Regional Rugby has lent its support to the campaign to make this year’s Wales Rally GB the most thrilling yet with leading Welsh rally talent Elfyn Evans set for home glory in North Wales.

The three-day international rally event being held in Wales from November 13-16 is the finale to the season-long FIA World Rally Championship and attracts world-wide TV coverage as 160 of the world’s best rally drivers battle it out over 23 stages across 300 km of spectacular scenery and legendary forests of Wales.

Crowds of more than 70,000 watched the rally stages live last year at the successful sporting event backed by the Welsh Assembly Government and Conwy County Borough Council.

The rally brings in more than £10.8m to the Welsh economy and last year’s event raised £42,000 for local charities and good causes bringing real benefits to communities in Wales. This included funds for rugby and football clubs in Newtown, Dolgellau, Llanwchllyn and Llandudno where they have invested in new sports kits and schemes to encourage more juniors to join.

Chief Executive of RRW Mark Davies said: “The economic importance of sport in Wales is considerable and world-class events, like the Wales Rally GB, reach international audiences and bring in significant economic benefits to local communities. They are vital to support across our industry.

“Sport-related economic activity adds around £897m to the Welsh economy, with employment in the sector growing. Equally, we need to support major sports events that showcase world-class sports men and women and inspire new generations to participate and enjoy the social and health benefits of sport.

“Wales is acting as UK host in the closing round of the FIA World Rally Championship – that’s something to celebrate and get behind. The rally in Wales has a genuine impact for people on the ground.

“There’s a real feel-good factor building for this year’s event and with home-grown hero Elfyn Evans exciting the world circuit – it’s another success story in the development of young Welsh sporting talent which we can be proud of and support as a sporting nation.

“There are many synergies between competitors in pro rugby and motorsport who need great levels of discipline, hand-eye speed co-ordination, mental focus and ability to make quick decisions under intense pressure.

“We are delighted to be supporting Wales Rally GB – like us, its organisers and partners have huge ambition and energy for the future and recognise the real opportunities sport has in bringing together communities and inspiring young people.”

With a spectator-focused approach, this year’s Wales Rally GB will put fans right at the heart of the high-octane action more than ever before. Enhanced facilities, larger car parks and improved viewing areas will be complemented by free access to the Deeside Service Park, Remote Service area at Newtown, Colwyn Bay Ceremonial Start and Llandudno Ceremonial Finish – surefire hits amongst traditional and non-traditional rally fans.

Throw into the mix the immensely popular RallyFest stages at Chirk Castle and Kinmel Park, some superb blasts through the legendary North Wales forests and live television coverage of the new-for-2014 Brenig Power Stage – and November’s fabulous finale to the fast-and-frenetic WRC really does promise to be an event not-to-be-missed.

Throngs of media gathered at Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre on 9th October to hear from Wales Rally GB’s key players – from promoter International Motor Sports (IMS) to the Welsh Government and Conwy County Borough Council.

Ben Taylor, Managing Director of Wales Rally GB said:  “It’s a brilliant event for everybody involved, and the Welsh Government and Conwy Council have been instrumental in their support – everybody has opened their arms and said, ‘Welcome to Wales Rally GB’. There is an incredible swell of enthusiasm for this event and a real sense of occasion.

“All the stages are in fantastic condition and offer a real challenge to the competitors, and the live television coverage of the Power Stage here at Brenig will paint Wales and its hills, lakes and vistas in a glorious light.

“We have a partnership with the Welsh Government until at least the end of next year and feel there is enormous potential still to be exploited from this event. We have real ambition for the future of Wales Rally GB.”

Those sentiments were shared by David Rosser, Director of Innovation in the Department of Economy, Science and Transport at the Welsh Government – Wales Rally GB’s principal funding partner.

“We are delighted to have the rally back in Wales again,” he affirmed. “As a long-term partner, Wales Rally GB is a very special event for us and we are all committed to maximising the benefits.

“In addition to the direct economic boost that the rally brings, it enables us to really showcase Wales and all that our country has to offer, from its spectacular stages to its equally spectacular backdrop. It’s also a way of engaging differently with the automotive sector, which is enormously important in Wales – the rally brings the whole industry together.”

This year’s Ceremonial Start will be held at North Wales’ Rugby home, the Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay.

Wales international Ken Owens said the rally had a lot of support from his fellow rugby internationals: “A lot of the boys are really into the rally, I think most of us would jump at the chance to get behind the wheel of the top cars given a chance.

“I grew up with the rally when the stages were based near home in Carmarthenshire and there’s real excitement about this year’s event.  We’ve got even more reason to get behind it now that Welsh driver Elfyn Evans is breaking into the pinnacle of the sport.

“It’s a brilliant event for the whole country and really important for everyone here to support world-class sports like the rally, in Wales.”

Wales Rally GB is offering FREE admittance to the official Service Park in Deeside, Ceremonial Start in Eirias Stadium in Colwyn Bay, Remote Service in Newtown and Ceremonial Finish in Llandudno.  Advanced tickets for the 2014 Wales Rally GB are available via the official website at or via the ticket hotline on 0844 847 2251.