The UK could soon host a round of an international FIA rally championship for the first time since 2019 as organisers of Rali Ceredigion in Wales bid to secure a slot on the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) calendar.
Organisers have been working closely with the event’s regional stakeholders and commercial partners to secure the resources and infrastructure necessary to make this significant step forward for the rally, in a move that will increase its status and profile.
Representatives from the Rali Ceredigion organising team attended the recent Royal Rally of Scandinavia in Sweden, where they met with the ERC promoter and discussed detailed operating requirements with event organisers.
Phil Pugh, chairman of the Rali Ceredigion organising team, said: “Every year we strive to innovate and drive our event forward, and fulfilling our ambition to become a round of the ERC is the next step in that progression.
“Losing Wales Rally GB has been a significant set-back for rallying in the UK and it’s important that we, as event organisers and enthusiasts, do whatever we can to try and restore our place on an international championship. In doing so, it would give UK competitors in supporting domestic championships a chance to pit themselves against a top-class ERC field.
“For decades, gravel stages in Wales were at the heart of UK WRC rounds. However, we can also offer a network of high-quality Tarmac roads that provide a very different and unique, world-class challenge. Indeed, it’s not unthinkable that Welsh public roads could see the return of WRC stars sometime in the future.
“But for now, our target is to be an ERC round – sooner rather than later – and we’re working diligently with key stakeholders such as Ceredigion County Council to secure a slot at the earliest opportunity. Our visit to the Royal Rally resulted in some very useful discussions with the promoter and allowed to us see exactly what is required to deliver our strategy and make that happen.
“I’m proud to say that Rali Ceredigion is already operating to high standards. It is the only rally in the UK which runs to the FIA’s Environmental Accreditation, we offset the emissions of all competing vehicles and deliver live action and presenter-led broadcasts from every stage. We are therefore in a great position to step up to become a round of an international championship.”
Toyota Gazoo Racing World Rally Team driver and FIA World Rally Championship front-runner Elfyn Evans is a key supporter of Rali Ceredigion, his local event:
“The UK desperately needs to get a rally reinstated back on an FIA calendar and Rali Ceredigion now looks like our best opportunity to achieve that. The organisers comprise an experienced team of international competitors with great ambitions to take it forward. The stages are world-class, fast and technical with high levels of grip, making them challenging but very rewarding from a competitor’s perspective.”
Iain Campbell, FIA European Rally Championship Manager, said: “The WRC Promoter is regularly in conversations with interested parties to be part of the FIA European Rally Championship and it is of no secret that one of those interested is Rali Ceredigion. We will continue to hold an open dialogue to have a round of the ERC in the UK.”
Entries for this year’s Rali Ceredigion open on Friday 28 July at 6pm.