|Stages:||24 (328,4 km)|
- The action begins with Wednesday night’s super special at Karlstad trotting track.
- Thursday’s opening leg is the most northerly, comprising tests in Sweden and Norway. It’s short with just 68.42km of competition, but no service means mechanical issues must be avoided.
- The second leg journeys east of the Hagfors service park before ending with a repeat of the super special. The final leg covers similar territory before the Karlstad finish.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 2014
- Due to a clash with the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, the rally runs from Wednesday to Saturday.
- Stages in Norway will be held during the first leg rather than the last day as in 2013.
- 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.
- The Big Seven
Rally Sweden 2014