Wales Rally GB ready to go

The legendary Welsh forests are ready to welcome a capacity and star-studded 160-car entry into Wales Rally GB, the 13th and final round of the 2014 FIA World Rally Championship.

Building on the huge success of last year's event, this year's spectacular rally features a slightly more compact three-day route. It compromises 23 competitive special stages - totaling 191 miles - all run against the clock on a mix a traditional gravel forest tracks and fan-friendly parkland roads.

After a dazzling Opening Ceremony in Eirias Stadium, Colwyn Bay on Thursday evening, the intrepid crews face a marathon leg in mid-Wales on Friday. The weekend's action is closer to the Deeside Service Park and includes RallyFests at Chirk Castle on Saturday and Kinmel Park on Sunday. The deserving winners will be crowned on Mostyn Street in Llandudno on Sunday afternoon.

Heading the entry list is the newly crowned 2014 World Champion, Sébastien Ogier. Having just clinched back-to-back titles, the gifted Frenchman will be the one beat on an event he won last year. Ogier, though, isn't the only past winner targeting further success. His VW Motorsport team-mate Jari-Matti Latvala and M-Sport's Mikko Hirvonen have both lifted the coveted Peall Trophy and are sure to provide stiff opposition. Hirvonen has an extra incentive, he's just announced his retirement from the sport and will want to leave on a high.

No British driver has won the event since the late Richard Burns' completed a hat-trick of triumphs back in 2000 but, with Elfyn Evans and Kris Meeke among this season's front-runners, another famous home victory may not be that far away.

Adding the competition, the new Hyundai Motorsport team makes its Wales Rally GB debut and its top gun Thierry Neuville has already made his mark by winning in Germany. Ex-F1 star Robert Kubica is another to watch.

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