Drivers must nominate six events from a list of seven on which to score points and 14 have selected Rally Sweden, which is based in Karlstad from 10-13 February, as their first scoring event of the year in the class for two-litre, turbocharged, four-wheel-drive production cars.
Patrik Flodin begins the season among the favourites having finished a close second to Armindo Araujo in the 2010 title race. With the Portuguese looking to progress his career by stepping up to a World Rally Car, Flodin is one driver who will be capable of capitalising on Araujo’s absence starting on his home round in Sweden.
Flodin won the PWRC division on this event last season and will be hoping to make the most of the continuity factor provided by a second term with the Russian Uspenskiy Rally Tecnica squad in a Subaru Impreza WRX STi.
After finishing third in the final PWRC standings last season New Zealander Hayden Paddon also has title-winning credentials in his Symtech Racing Impreza. Paddon begins his campaign on the gravel roads of Portugal in late March having elected not to count Rally Sweden as one of his six scoring events, leaving Flodin with added incentive to achieve a maximum score in Scandinavia.
Norwegian Anders Grondal starts Rally Sweden on the back of winning the opening two rounds of his national championship recently and is highly adept at competing on snow and ice. He finished second in the PWRC section of the event in 2010 and will be out to go one better this year. His co-driver, Veronica Engan, is the girlfriend of Fiesta RS WRC driver Mads Ostberg.
Martin Semerad has shown plenty of promise during his two seasons spent in the PWRC so far and will be a contender for a podium finish in Sweden in his family-run Mitsubishi Lancer. The university student has made a full recovery from the leg injuries he suffered in an accident on a round of the Czech championship last season.
Finnish veteran Jukka Ketomaki has prior knowledge of the Rally Sweden stages, as does Italian gentleman driver Gianluca Linari. Ex-Fiesta SportTrophy International frontrunners Majed Al Shamsi and Bader Al Jabri will make their PWRC debuts in a brace of Team Abu Dhabi Subaru Imprezas.
Four drivers from Ukraine will compete in the PWRC this season including Oleksandr Saliuk, a four-time national champion, and Valeriy Gorban, who has taken his domestic crown on two occasions in the past. Yuriy Protasov, Ukrainian champion in 2008, will also be in action, as well countryman Oleksiyi Kikireshko.
Peruvian champion Nicolas Fuchs is an unknown quantity at world level and has never driven on snow before. The same cannot be said for Mexican Ricardo Trivinho who has competed in Sweden two times in the past and has contested more than 25 WRC events.
Russian Dmitry Tagirov completes the list of PWRC runners in a Subaru Impreza, the bulk of who were finalising their final preparations during a test in Sweden today (Monday).
You’ll find more information on Rally Sweden, including this year's itinerary and links to the official website, in the Sweden section of wrc.com.
Follow this link to see the wrc.com Rally Sweden entry list story.
Find out more about this season’s competitors in the PWRC Drivers section.