08 - 10 Feb 08
Surface:Ice and snow covered gravel
Most Recent Winner:Mikko Hirvonen (2010)
Based from the city of Karlstad in central Sweden, the rally takes place on wintry gravel roads in the forests of the Varmland region and includes remote services in the towns of Sunne and Hagfors. Temperatures can drop below -25 degrees Celsius when the rally is on, but the special challenge of the frozen roads means the event is one of the most popular among drivers.
Despite the ice and snow-covered stages, speeds are still frighteningly quick thanks to skinny studded tyres which bite through the soft surface into the hard-packed ground below. The event also features snow banks which drivers use as soft barriers on which to 'lean' their cars around corners. There are plenty of hazards, though. Hit a snow bank at the wrong speed and it can bite back, filling radiators with snow or sucking the car in completely. If this happens, the driver and co-driver reach for the snow shovels they are required to carry on board. As with the fast gravel roads of Finland and the asphalt of Corsica and Spain, local talent prevails here, and the winners' list looks like a Scandinavian phone book. To succeed in Sweden, you need a sublime combination of commitment, fingertip feel and lightning reactions.
In 2007, the Swedish Rally was paired with Rally Norway to provide a double dose of snow action, but in 2008 it is back as the only true winter rally in the WRC.