After the ice and slush of the season opening Rallye Monte-Carlo, things stay wintry for round two of the FIA World Rally Championship when the action shifts 2000 km north to the frozen forests of Scandinavia and one of the fastest rallies in the series.
The snow-covered stages of Rally Sweden make it a unique challenge in the WRC. The spectacle of cars nudging 200kph on snow against the backdrop of a winter wonderland makes for some of the most breathtaking television pictures from each season, while drivers relish the speed and the surprising amounts of traction available from the World Rally Cars.
Tyres fitted with hundreds of tungsten-tipped steel studs offer tremendous grip on the rock-hard ice surface beneath them, while the snow banks lining the route are often used to keep the car on the straight and narrow - allowing the drivers to attack corners a gear higher than they would on any other loose-surface event. Rally Sweden rewards those who are willing to risk everything. But beware, nudge those snow banks too hard and they can swallow World Rally Cars whole…
Running for the 61st year, Rally Sweden is once again based in Karlstad with the service park located 85 kilometres away at Hagfors airport.
The action starts from Hagfors on Thursday 7 February with a free practice session (08:00hrs-10:00hrs) followed at 10:33hrs by the Qualifying Stage that will help determine the running order for the opening day’s competition
Following the popular head-to-head superspecial in Karlstad on Thursday night, the real stage action will commence on Friday with the first of two days in the Swedish countryside around the service park in Hagfors.
Friday and Saturday features traditional stages in the host country, including classics like Vargasen (featuring Colin’s Crest) and Lesjofors on Friday and Sagen, Fredriksberg and Rammen on Saturday. On Sunday the event crosses the border into Norway (the opening stage Mitandersfors starts in Sweden and finishes in Norway) before returning to Sweden for the closing Power Stage at Torsby.
There are 22 stages on Rally Sweden, totaling 338.91 competitive kilometres. The event also includes the second round of the FIA WRC 2 Championship.
Next page: So who's going to win?