05 - 07 Oct 07
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2009)
There has been significant change for Spain's round of the World Rally Championship in recent years. First the move from the Costa Brava to the Costa Daurada on the other side of Barcelona in 2005, and now the move back to autumn in 2007. The event's nature hasn't changed much, however, with the wide, sweeping asphalt roads providing the fastest sealed-surface stages of the season.
The event is based in the Port Aventura theme park, in the town of Salou in the Tarragona region, and it's a great place to host a rally. The locals - weened on years of success for double champion and 26-times rally winner Carlos Sainz - really love their rallying, and show every ounce of their passion on the stages as they cheer, holler and wave their flags. With up-and-coming youngster Dani Sordo having won the Junior WRC crown in 2005 and now the number two driver for Citroen Total World Rally Team, they have a new star to pour their accolades on.
As we've said, the stages are among the fastest asphalt tests in the WRC, and racing technique can pay dividends here as drivers aim for smooth lines through the fast turns to maximise their speed. Corner-cutting is also a widely-used skill here, but this can drag gravel onto the road for the following cars and the second run through the stages, meaning that instant reactions are as important as well-researched pace notes for the particularly hazardous zones.
2007 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen C4)
2006 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara)
2005 Sebastien Loeb (Citroen Xsara)
2004 Markko Martin (Ford Focus)
2003 Gilles Panizzi (Peugeot 206)
2002 Gilles Panizzi (Peugeot 206)
2001 Didier Auriol (Peugeot 206)
2000 Colin McRae (Ford Focus)
1999 Philippe Buglaski (Citroen Xsara)
1998 Didier Auriol (Toyota Corolla)
1997 Tommi Makinen (Mitsubishi Lancer)
1996 Colin McRae (Subaru Impreza)