Huge Crowds at Slate Mountain for WRC!
Nearly 2,000 rally fans descended on The Slate Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog on Friday (5th October) to watch the first ever visit of the Dayinsure Wales Rally GB to the brand new Slate Mountain special stage.
Specially designed as a spectator stage, Slate Mountain was introduced for the first time in 2018 as SS5 and SS6 of the 2018 Wales Rally GB. Centred around a fully operational area of the quarry, the stage was created to include all the jumps, hairpin bends and fast descents of a full length stage, into something more compact and accessible for visitors.
A wet and muddy Slate Mountain greeted the drivers of the World Rally Championship for SS5 and in hugely challenging conditions with next to no visibility, Belgian ace Thierry Neuville took the stage win with a time of 1:16.8. With conditions improving throughout the morning, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Jari-Matti Latvala took SS6, knocking a second off Neuville’s time. After the two rounds of Slate Mountain, Wales’ Elfyn Evans was in second place (this wasn’t to last much longer).
Adding to the festival atmosphere of the day, local food suppliers such as Dragon Dairy, Blas ar Fwyd, Siwgr a Sbeis and Pendragon Drinks were invited to sample their goods on site alongside The Slate Caverns’ chosen charity - Wales Air Ambulance.
A spokesperson for The Slate Caverns said: ‘We are delighted that so many spectators at this years Dayinsure Wales Rally GB decided to choose Slate Mountain as one of their stages for Friday - the event was a fantastic showcase of the terrain, landscape and friendliness that people local to the area know Blaenau Ffestiniog for.’
‘We’d like to thank everyone who made Slate Mountain becoming a world class rally stage possible, including Welsh Slate for providing the car park, JMJ Travel for the shuttle bus service, Northern Welsh Quarries and the MSA for completing the stage and of course every single member of staff at The Slate Caverns for working to make the day as great as it was.’
The 2018 Dayinsure Wales Rally GB was eventually won by Sebastian Ogier from the M-Sport Ford team.
Photographs courtesy of At World Media Group | Red Bull Content Pool | The Slate Caverns