10: Bauxites, Greece
Arguably this is the most physically demanding WRC special stage currently in use - and it’s easy to see why. It’s technical, with boulder-like rocks, and normally run in the sort of searing heat that you can cook a fried egg in. It’s been enough to make drivers sick in the past - quite literally.
9: Eldama Ravine, Kenya
This stage was also known as “the road to hell” - which tells you everything you need to know. The road runs along a mountain ridge that flanks a ravine, which means that if you go off, you end up somewhere near Uganda. It’s not been used since 1999, when sanity and common sense finally prevailed...
8: Granberget, Sweden
Traditionally the longest stage of Rally Sweden, this goes on forever. What makes it so tricky are the high white snowbanks that distort perspective and make the corners tricky to spot: drivers liken it to driving down a long bright white tunnel.
7: Bunnings, Australia
A blast from the past from when Rally Australia was based in Perth. Bunnings was run on the final day, and it was famous for its trampoline-like jumps. These launched the cars into the air so high that the crews could actually no longer see the ground. Which is never a comfortable experience.
6: Arena Panzerplatte, Germany
These roads were originally used for testing tanks, and what makes them so daunting is the zero grip offered by the concrete surfaces (especially when it is raining) and the solid hinkelsteins that will bring anything that flies off the road to a very abrupt stop.
5: Giulio Cesare, Argentina
A bit like the fate that befell the famous Roman emperor, this stage can stab drivers viciously in the back. It’s run at high altitude, frequently with dense fog, and there are rocks the size of footballs just waiting to rip a wheel off at any given moment.
4: St Gwynno, Great Britain
St Gwynno contains all the ingredients that makes Britain’s round of the world championship great: rain, fog, claggy mud and darkness - as the stage is often run in the early morning. The wildly varying grip is what makes it such a challenge.
3: Calvi-Porto, Corsica
No list of terrifying stages would be complete without mentioning at least one Corsica stage. This was simply known as the ‘coast road’ and in its heyday it was around 80 kilometres long. What made it terrifying was the truly sickening drop over the cliff and into the sea if you got it wrong. On the positive side, this provided ample motivation to stay on the road.
2: Col de Bleine, Monte Carlo
This has been compared to ice skating in bedroom slippers, depending on which tyres you have at your disposal and what the weather is doing. It’s a typical Monte stage with wildly varying grip and several clenched buttock moments even for the greatest champions.
1: Ouninpohja, Finland
There was never going to be a serious argument about this. Ouninpohja (pictured) is the Godfather of all special stages - simply because it requires such staggering speed, around 130kph average, and mind-blowing determination. Drivers have to constantly commit to high-speed corners that they cannot even see because of the flat-out crests. And if that’s not scary, then we have no idea what is.