24 - 27 Oct 13
Categories:WRC, WRC-2, WRC-3, JWRC
Surface:Asphalt and gravel
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2012)
The RallyRACC-Rally de Espana has been a unique event in recent seasons of the WRC in that it has been the only true mixed surface round of the season. Nowhere else has three days of rallying been split across gravel and asphalt; in Spain the first day's competition is off-road, with the last two days running on tarmac.
The use of asphalt and gravel stages on the same event not only increases the challenge facing the crews due to the different driving style requirements, it also adds to the workload placed on the mechanics and engineers, who have to convert their cars from gravel to asphalt specification in a restricted timeframe.
Based on Spain’s Costa Daurada in the country’s Tarragona region, the event is always one of the highlights of the WRC season. Whilst a popular finale to the season in 2012, the Rally de Espana has been moved back to October for 2013. This allows Rally Wales GB to take its traditional spot as the championship's last event. However, organisers are still predicting a number of fans to travel to the popular seaside tourist town of Salou to enjoy the party atmosphere and visit the permanent service area at the PortAventura theme park.
In 2011, whilst the opening day in Spain was in theory a gravel-only leg, just one repeated stage took place entirely on gravel. There were two repeated stages using a mixture of gravel and asphalt as a means of increasing the challenge for the drivers and raising the spectacle for the many spectators following the action.
But, as ever, it’s the sweeping race circuit-style asphalt roads that characterise this event that will once again dominate the competitive route. To be quick this year, drivers must maximise their pace through the high-speed turns by taking the optimum line at all times.