Sweden’s winter wonderland

Rally Sweden (15 - 18 February) organisers believe conditions for next week’s second round of the FIA World Rally Championship could be the best in recent years.

Heavy snow and freezing temperatures in the Värmland region of Sweden and across the border in Norway promise ‘almost perfect’ roads for the WRC’s only pure winter encounter, according to rally general manager Glenn Olsson.

Officials checking the special stages over the weekend found full snow on all the forest roads, with solid and large snow banks alongside – ideal for drivers to ‘lean’ their cars on to guide them around corners at maximum speed.

The ideal formula of snow followed by intensely cold temperatures has been repeated several times in recent weeks.

Daytime temperatures at the Torsby service park plummeted to -12°C on Monday. Forecasts for the rally period indicate daytime figures remaining below zero and night figures down to -9°C.

“Our guys have been delighted by what they found in the forests,” said Olsson. “The roads are full snow and there are big snow banks lining the stages. I would say they’re almost perfect.

“In full winter conditions Sweden is one of the fastest and most spectacular rounds of the season. Over the last few seasons we have had a mix of conditions, but it’s looking really, really good this year for both competitors and fans,” he said.

The rally is centred in Torsby and opens with an evening speed test at Karlstad trotting track next Thursday. Three days of high-speed action follow before Sunday afternoon’s finish.

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