Rally GB to kick off in Liverpool with Oulton Park return

The British round of the WRC will kick off in England for the first time in 20 years with cars being flagged away in Liverpool and the first stage taking place at Oulton Park.

The confirmation of the North-West city as start venue and Oulton Park as the opener are the big changes in the 2019 route.

In addition the service park is changing… moving from Deeside to Llandudno. There is also a new Colwyn Bay stage on the Saturday evening. The new format brings Oulton Park back to the event for the first time since 1993.

"We feel strongly that by moving the start to Liverpool and Thursday evening's curtain-raiser to Oulton Park, this year's Rally GB will not only get off to its most accessible and exciting start for many years but will also entice more people into Wales for the action which follows,” Motorsport UK chief Hugh Chambers said.

"Colwyn Bay will further assist our efforts to showcase this sport to wider audiences - a quest endorsed by our decision to move the service park to Llandudno town centre."

The main action on the rally, from October third to sixth will still be in the forests North Wales, which feature heavily on the Friday and Sunday. The Saturday action is still centred on mid-Wales. Route guru Andrew Kellitt has again worked overtime to come up with a route that was hampered by the FIA's regulations on the length of road sections and the tree disease which has prevented use of Gartheiniog test. Dyfnant stage moves from Saturday to Friday for this year and will be run twice.

Aberhirnant will also be back on the itinerary, again running on the opening day. Saturday's Dyfi, Myherin and Sweet Lamb Hafren stages are all extended from last year to cover the loss of Dyfnant and Gartheiniog and day two is somewhat longer than last year. The forests on Friday and Sunday switch around, with roads close to Betws-Y-Coed moving to open the event's gravel action. Gwydir, which is also in this area is Thursday's shakedown stage.

The Clocaenog area is used on Sunday with Alwen and Brenig running twice. Brenig returns as the power stage. Great Orme will be run only once and will only include the headland stretch. That is because Llandudno’s streets are to be the service park.