Liverpool revs up for World Championship motorsport
Aintree was home to the British Formula 1 Grand Prix five times between 1955 and 1962 and now, more than half a century later, the city’s historic Waterfront will have the honour of staging the Ceremonial Start to this year’s Wales Rally GB (3-6 October).
Making the occasion even more special, it is the first time Britain’s annual round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) has started outside Wales since 1999 and never before in its 74 previous editions has the event’s high profile ‘Grand Depart’ ever been hosted in Liverpool.
The eagerly-anticipated Wales Rally GB is the 12th round of this year’s fiercely-fought 14-round World Championship and will be won – and indeed lost – during four days of dramatic action set primarily in the Welsh forests.
As one of world sport’s premier series’, the WRC attracts huge global audiences. The action is followed by a cumulative audience of more than 825 million with broadcasts in no fewer than 155 television markets.
As well as being screened internationally, Wales Rally GB will be available to UK audiences via Channel 5 and S4C – moreover all 22 competitive Special Stages will be broadcast live on BT Sport for the very first time.
Come Thursday 3 October all eyes will be on Liverpool when the WRC cars and stars contesting the 2019 Wales Rally GB assemble outside the iconic Royal Liver Building.
The WRC will be in position by 3:00pm in the afternoon in readiness to be flagged away from the official podium ramp at one minute intervals from 4:00pm. Guaranteeing a large turn-out, public admission will be free and a big screen, interviews, autograph/selfie sessions with all the sport’s top competitors will add to the high octane atmosphere on the Pier Head.
Located adjacent to the Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building, the Royal Liver Building is one of the city’s famous ‘Three Graces’ which line the refurbished Waterfront and all three are part of Liverpool’s UNESCO-designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.
“Liverpool thrives on major events, and the spectacle of nearly 60 rally cars lined up on our UNESCO World Heritage Waterfront is going to be a stunning sight!” said Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery.
“This is the first time in 20 years that the event has taken place outside of Wales, so it’s a huge coup for Liverpool to host the Grand Depart and I am looking forward to meeting as many drivers as I can and welcoming them to the city.
“I encourage as many people as possible to head to the waterfront for this free event, and enjoy the high-octane atmosphere as some of the world’s best rally drivers start their world championship challenge.”
Wales Rally GB is equally delighted to be breaking with tradition and presenting the Ceremonial Start in a city of Liverpool’s remarkable history and stature.
“We are thrilled to be bringing Wales Rally GB into a city of such international sporting, cultural and commercial fame as Liverpool,” confirmed Hugh Chambers, Chief Executive of Motorsport UK, organiser of Wales Rally GB.
“Rallying is an extreme sport staged in the great outdoors, so it’s incredibly important that we create a showcase like this to reach new audiences right in the heart of the city. Thursday is going to be a wonderful opportunity for all those in Liverpool to come and see the WRC drivers and their amazing machines up close. I’m sure they will be impressed by what they see, and hopefully it will inspire some to travel to Oulton Park that evening; or even venture into the Welsh forests for the main rally action over the weekend.”
After leaving Liverpool, competitors drive straight to the Oulton Park circuit close to Chester for Thursday evening’s opening competitive Special Stage. Along with the Ceremonial Start in Liverpool, the curtain-raiser in Cheshire will provide fans on the English side of the border with a rare opportunity to marvel at the fastest-ever generation of World Rally Cars.
Tickets for the Dayinsure Oulton Park Stage (Adults £25, accompanied children 15 and under FREE) are only available in advance and must be purchased before midnight on Monday 30 October.
A wide selection of ticket options for the remaining 21 competitive special stages that follow in Wales over Friday, Saturday and Sunday are also still on sale. Adult admission starts from just £15 and, again, there is no charge for accompanied children aged 15 and under.
Remaining tickets will be available on the gate, but significant savings are available for all those purchasing online now.
Those in the UK buying the premier four-day World Rally Pass and wanting to receive their hard card tickets and lanyards via the post, must place their orders before 9am on Friday 27 September. Thereafter World Rally Passes can only be collected from the official ticket office at Venue Cymru in Llandudno. All individual day tickets are fulfilled by email.
Full details can be found on the official www.walesrallygb.com website.
WALES RALLY GB IN LIVERPOOL
Thursday 3 October – Provisional Timetable
From 14:00 FIA World Rally Championship competitors arrive on Pier Head
15:00-15.45 Autograph sessions with top drivers
15:05 Photo call with drivers next to Beatles’ Statue
16:00 Ceremonial Start – first car leaves start ramp
16:00-17:00 Wales Rally GB entrants leave start ramp at one minute intervals
17:30 Oulton Park holding area arrival
19:08 The Dayinsure Oulton Park Stage