07 Feb 08
SS1/8 Superspecial Stage Karlstad (1.90km)
The Superspecial is a very narrow man-made circuit with the biggest jump in the whole championship. It's so big we have to take it slowly otherwise we'd break the car in half. This year there is just a thin covering of ice over the gravel underneath. During the recce it looked like it was melting fast, so we'll have to see how the mixture of ice, slush and gravel fares after a few runs.
SS2/5 Stensjon (15.50km)
This is a new stage but we used part of it in 2000. It's a funny stage as there's no natural rhythm to it. It's quite narrow and twisty, and all this makes it quite difficult to write pace notes for. Being further north it was quite snowy on the recce. There's one big jump right in the middle, and one section past a farm where there are big boulders in the road, so you have to be very careful there.
SS3/6 Bjalverud (21.58km)
This is another new stage, although parts of it were used in 2001. It's also very fast - virtually flat out in sixth gear the whole way through. There are lots of long corners, and only three junctions, so it's probably the fastest stage of the rally.
SS4/7 Mangen (22.09km)
This new stage is totally different to the previous one. It follows the line of a lake for a long way and is very twisty and flowing. It passes through a few villages and then winds back onto the lake road. It's a fantastic stage; there aren't many straights and it's lock to lock the whole time with the steering wheel. On the recce there were soft snow banks by the roadside about half a metre deep.