HUGE crowds flocked to Newtown on Friday, as the Wales Rally GB returned to the region.

World Championship cars and competitors arrived mid afternoon on Friday, for a service pit stop in the town.

The drivers were welcomed by roaring crowds and some glorious Welsh sunshine.

The fun fuelled event is designed to appeal to new rally fans and fanatics alike, promising easier access so rally fans can get closer to all the action.

Mayor of Newtown, Sue Newham, said: “This is a great opportunity for people who are fans of the rally to come down and support the event in our local area.”

County Councillor Joy Jones said: “It’s a fabulous event for the local economy, it definitely is a big boost for Newtown. It ensures that we get visitors to stop and stay in the surrounding areas in our hotels and B&Bs.”

Cllr Jones added: “We understand that people may be irritated by the inconvenience of having the event here but we need to keep this event in Newtown, otherwise other places will take over.

“Powys is famous for motor car rallies so we really can’t afford to lose this popular event.”

Record breaking crowd numbers continued across the weekend, as more than 100,000 spectators lined the Welsh forest stages to see the new generation of World Championship drivers.

Dayinsure Wales Rally GB managing director, Ben Taylor said: “I need to thank everyone who has put in such a lot of hard work to make it all possible.

“We have a magnificent army of more than 2,000 volunteers and marshals who give up something like 5,000 days this week alone to put the stages together and to keep the fans and the crews safe.”

n Rally coverage continues on pages 9, 36, 37 & 80.