Liverpool flags off Wales Rally GB drivers

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Matt Edwards Hyundai i20 R5. Pic © Louise Jamison.

Liverpool waterfront was this year’s starting point for the Wales Rally GB, as part of the world championship series.

The event is one of most high-profile motor rallies in the UK and the 2019, 75th edition of the race was the first time since 1999 the FIA World Championship has started outside Wales.

Liverpool  had the honour as 53 rally cars roared into life at the glitzy ceremonial start on Thursday. The cars lined up in front of the iconic Royal Liver Building at 3pm, where the drivers met with fans for autographs and picture opportunities.

Louise Cook, who was one of only three female competitors, told JMU Journalism she was excited to get back into racing after a year out of competing.

YouTube: Louise Jamison

The 32-year-old, who suffered technical faults and eventually came in 47th place, said: “The goal is to build into the rally and try to build the pace; it’s easy to say that now feeling sensible but once you get behind the wheel, there is a little beast that comes out. It would be nice to get to the finish line to be honest.”

The race ceremony began at 4pm where the competitors were flagged over the ramp individually, at one-minute intervals. Reigning British Champion, Matt Edwards, took the first drive into the adventure playground in his Hyundai i20 R5. The competitive action blasted off at the picturesque Oulton Park circuit track in Chester.

Wales Rally GB. Pic © Louise Jamison.

Former mayor, Councillor Peter Brennan, said: “Liverpool is the perfect city from which to start the 2019 rally for three simple reasons; this is the UK’s number one sporting city, we have proud and rich motoring heritage in the city and no other city in the UK puts on such a good show.”

The racers faced a gruelling three-day, 192-mile trek to the Welsh forests. On the final competition day on Sunday, the surviving racers who made their way back to North Wales and concluded by aiming to score bonus points in front of a global, live television audience.

Estonian, Ott Tanak, 31, won the race after a convincing two-day lead in the competition.

YouTube: Louise Jamison