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Rally Sweden

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Rally Sweden
Start Date: 12.02.2015
End Date: 15.02.2015
Timezone: UTC 1
Category: WRC3
WRC2
WRC
Stages: 21 (308,00 km)
Distance: 1441,57 km
Servicepark: Hagfors
Website: http://www.rallysweden.com/

Route                                                

  • The action begins with Thursday night’s traditional super special at Karlstad trotting track, which is repeated 24 hours later. 
  • Much of Friday’s opening leg is in Norway with a remote service in Kirkenær. It also includes a cross-border test on roads not used since 2011. 
  • Saturday comprises classic stages in the frozen forests around the Hagfors service park, including the famous Colin’s Crest in Vargåsen. 
  • The final day returns to the same area for just three tests, including the rally-closing Power Stage in Värmullsåsen, before the Karlstad finish.

Challenge

  • The only true winter round and a classic Rally Sweden will be characterised by frozen roads lined with snow banks.
  • Drivers ‘lean’ cars against the banks to guide them round corners. But in warmer temperatures the banks disintegrate on impact and cars become stuck in the snow.     
  • Studded tyres are essential and provide remarkable grip but drivers must acclimatise to the ‘floating’ feeling and different braking points.
  • When temperatures hover around freezing, the studs tear up the road surface and exposed gravel rips them from the tyres to leave little traction.
  • Outdoor servicing in temperatures as low as -25°C makes normally routine jobs slower and tricky for gloved mechanics. 

Car spec

  • Loose surface specification but engineering solutions required to make engines work at peak performance in unrelenting cold.
  • Skinny tyres are fitted with about 380 tungsten-tipped steel studs to bite into the frozen roads. Each stud is 20mm long and weighs 4g. However, just 7mm is exposed, with the rest inserted into the rubber to provide a strong anchor.
  • Shovels are mandatory in case competitors have to dig their cars out of snow.

History

  • First run in 1950 when it was called the Rally to the Midnight Sun as it was held in summer. It became a winter event in 1965.
  • It featured in the inaugural championship in 1973 and has been dominated by Scandinavians, who won every year until 2004 when Sébastien Loeb broke the mould. Sébastien Ogier is the only other ‘outsider’ to win.
  • Stig Blomqvist and Marcus Grönholm top the roll of honour with five wins each.

What’s new for 2015 

  • While Friday’s territory will be familiar to drivers, about 20 per cent of the icy action will be new compared to last year. 
  • The rally returns to its traditional Thursday to Sunday schedule after moving forward 24 hours in 2014 due to a clash with the Winter Olympic Games.

Don’t miss

  • Colin’s Crest in Saturday’s Vargåsen stage. As a mark of respect for the late Colin McRae an award is made for the longest jump here. The record is 37 metres, shared by Ken Block and Marius Aasen.

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14 Jan 2015

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