SS8 and 10 - Crychan
Length: 13.05 km
Run at: 07:47 and 10:27 Saturday
Two car parks, M & N
Distance to stage: From car park N, a couple of hundred meters, depending on how early you get there. The car park area goes all the way up to the stage. From car park M, it's a similar story. However, this is the more popular spot, so it is likely to be a longer walk.
For car park B (N), it is mentioned that once at the stage you will need to walk a little in order to find a good spot to watch.
Notes on this stage: This stage is run twice in the morning, with Halfway 1 in between.
Spectating spots: car park M is more popular, and is for the hairpin enthusiast. Good spots are available immediately upon reaching the stage. Car park N is less popular, and is more for the open driving, with flowing bends.
Any other notes: This stage is less popular than Rheola or Resolven, mainly because it is also more remote and has not been used as frequently in the past several years. For getting out, it was mentioned that the near-by town of Llandovery gets very congested. It might be best to see if there is a reasonable way around it.
SS9 and 11 - Halfway
Length: 18.53 km
Run at: 08:14 and 10:54 Saturday
Three car parks, O, P & Q. Note: We are not allowed to park in car park Q on our passes! The end of car park Q appears to be just across the stage from car park P.
Distance to stage: From car park O, no more than about a mile. Car park P is supposed to be a walk along a good road, and goes quickly (it doesn't seem far). Once at the stage, there are many good spots a short walk away.
Notes on this stage: This stage is run twice. This is going to be a very popular stage, as it is the one where Marcus rolled last year! It also looks like it's got some excellent spectating opportunities, including a couple of jumps. There is a place called "Dixies Junction" that appears to be a tarmac crossover, and may catch some people out.
Spectating spots: Car park O is for the hairpin enthusiast, but only has room for 500 cars, so it fills up fast. Car park P leads to the Dixies Junction/Deer's Leap/Devil's Leap area. This is a wide open area where the road goes over rolling hills, so it looks possible to see the cars for some distance. This will also likely get busy, since this is the area where all the drama was last year. Pull out the coverage tape from last year to get an idea of what this area looks like.
There is no spectator information listed for the remaining car park. But since we aren't allowed to park in it anyway, I think we can safely cross it off the list and not consider it.
Any other notes: The area around Halfway is an active military base, and is noted as being a "danger area" on maps. The site I'm pulling information off of says not to approach the stage via anything other than the marked spectator routes, as they do live fire tests in the area!
The two stages above are relatively close together. They are also the farthest out of all the stages.
The next set of stages move down south of Swansea. They are accessed off of the A465 or the M4, both of which are major, fast roads. (They are also speed trap areas!)
SS12 - Margam Forest
Length: 17.37 km
Run at: 13:12 Saturday, also Sunday afternoon as part of the Margam stage (subject to change.)
This stage goes directly into the Margam Park stage, so which car park goes with which is a little unclear.
Our tickets do not allow us access to S. T is the parking lot in the Park itself, near the mannor and as such will be for the Margam Park stage proper. So it looks like our only option in the forest will be R.
Distance to stage: Between 1 mile and 2.5 miles, depending. The car park area seems to extend parallel to the spectator area, so parking near the middle is recommended. It is expected that it should take no more than 20 minutes to get to the stage, but it is recommended to allow for double that, just in case. (Probably a good call, as I expect that our feet will be hurting by this point!)
Notes on this stage:
Spectating spots: This is described as a typical Welsh forest stage. There are fast, flowing corners, with a few 90-degree bends as well. It sounds like the best plan is just to get there a little early and look around.
Any other notes: I believe toward the end of this stage is the corner Richard Burns slid off (and out of the rally) last year.
SS13 - Margam Park
Length: 12.64 km
Run at: 13:33 Saturday, also Sunday afternoon as part of the Margam stage (subject to change)
This stage is a continuation of the Margam Forest stage, so which car park goes with which is a little unclear.
Distance to stage: From car park T, it's a very short walk to the actual stage. It is recommended, though, to walk a bit farther into the forest to see some real, rather than cars zooming around the gardens of a mannor house. So the actual walk may be a little farther.
Notes on this stage: This stage will be run again as the last stage of the rally. This is mainly a spectator and family friendly stage, with the speccie areas being on rolling lawns far, far from the action.
Spectating spots: It's recommended to take the time to walk into the forest, rather than stay out on the lawn. However, on the last day it might be worth staying at the stage end, so we can see all the cars cross the finish for the last stage of the last round of the 2003 championship!
Any other notes: This is the stage where Carlos Sainz's Corolla died 200 m from the finish (and the site of the famous incident where his co-driver threw his helmut through the back window!)
The last stage on Leg 2 is Resolfen 2. Resolfen was discussed in the previous entry.
Leg 3 has either 3 or 4 stages, depending on whether the Margam Forest and Margam Park stages are combined or not. The only other stage is re-run, making for only one new stage description for the last day.
SS16 & 17 - Rhondda
Length: 30.08 km
Run at: 07:41 and 10:48 Sunday
There are three car parks, U, V, and W. The roads for the car parks are supposed to be wide and smooth, with solid parking on either side.
Distance to stage: Depending on where you end up having to park, it is going to be a good half hour walk to the stage. The weather is also apt to be foggy or rainy, so the ground will probably be muddy.
Notes on this stage: This stage is run twice, back-to-back with a service in the middle. It might be a good spot to sit for a while and watch the entire rally, not just the top cars.
Spectating spots: There isn't a lot of information on the spectator areas -- quite possibly because this stage was not used last year. The stage is supposed to have a combination of fast sections, and very technical sections. So with a little walking, you should be able to get to see whatever you want.
(As a side not, this person's idea of "a little bit of walking" seems to be distances of a mile or so. The faint of foot is well warned that one person's "little" might be a bit of a trudge to someone else!)
Any other notes: This is the second longest stage of the rally. This is also, apparently, another high-crime area.
BTW, lucifie and mizutamari, do you have hiking boots or high-top walking shoes? I haven't really been noting it down, but several of the stages have notes saying that good walking boots are required.
Also, I'm now monitoring this thread on Scooby Net, as it seems to have a lot of folks who have attended the rally before and are happy to share tips. (It's also a great thread to read to get the bouncy excitement going!)
(The brain is gone... I just tried to type the name of the main program that I maintain - WCS - and ended up typing "WRC" instead.)