On his second of just four WRC starts in his farewell season, Sebastien Loeb, the current title leader, heads the entry in his Citroen Total Abu Dhabi WRT DS3 WRC. Joining him in the team is 2011 Rally Sweden winner Mikko Hirvonen. The French firm’s second squad, the Abu Dhabi Citroen Total WRT, will run DS3s for Khalid Al Qassimi and Dani Sordo while Benito Guerra will drive a privately entered DS3.
Fresh from its podium-winning debut on Rallye Monte-Carlo, Volkswagen Motorsport returns with Polo R WRCs for drivers Sebastien Ogier and last year’s Sweden winner, Jari-Matti Latvala.
Fords haven’t been beaten in Sweden since 2006 and this year the Qatar M-Sport WRT will run Fiesta RS WRCs for two of the sport’s rising stars: Evgeny Novikov, who narrowly missed out on a podium in Monte-Carlo and Mads Ostberg, a top-three Sweden finisher in 2011and 2012.
Representing M-Sport’s sister squad, the Qatar World Rally Team, will be Thierry Neuville, Juho Hanninen and, making his team debut, Nasser Al-Attiyah.
Other Fiesta RS WRC runners include Jari Ketomaa, co-driven by Kimi Raikkonen’s former navigator Kaj Lindstrom, and Martin Prokop who continues his WRC campaign with the Jipocar Czech National Team. Henning Solberg is back in the WRC for the first time since last year’s Neste Oil Rally Finland. Also driving a Fiestas RS WRC is Henning’s 22-year-old stepson, former WRC academy frontrunner Pontus Tidemand.
Michal Kosciuszko will continue his Lotos Team WRC challenge in a MINI John Cooper Works WRC, while Finn Jarkko Nikara is entered in a Prodrive-run MINI.
Monte-Carlo class winner Sepp Wiegand heads the WRC 2 runners in his Skoda Fabia but will face tough opposition from 12 other drivers including the man placed third in the series, Yuriy Protasov. Snow specialists Anders Grondhal (Subaru Impreza) Per Gunnar Andersson (Proton Satria Neo) and Eyvind Brynildsen (Ford Fiesta RRC) are other notable names on the entry list.
Rally Sweden, based in Karlstad, takes place from 7-10 February and counts as round two of the 2013 FIA World Rally Championship.