20 - 23 Oct 11
Categories:WRC, SWRC, PWRC
Surface:Asphalt and gravel
Most Recent Winner:Sebastien Loeb (2011)
The 47th RallyRACC-Rally de Espana is unique in that it’s the only true mixed surface round on this year’s World Rally Championship with one day taking place on gravel and two days run on asphalt.
Along with Neste Oil Rally Finland, it’s also the only other event on the 2011 calendar to host rounds of both the Super 2000 and Production Car world championships as well as the main WRC.
The use of asphalt and gravel stages on the same event not only increases the challenge facing the crews due to the different driving style requirements, it also adds to the workload placed on the mechanics and engineers, who have to convert their cars from gravel to asphalt specification in a restricted timeframe.
Based on Spain’s Costa Daurada in the country’s Tarragona region, the seaside tourist town of Salou will once again host the permanent service park and headquarters at a site adjacent to the PortAventura theme park.
While the opening day in Spain is in theory a gravel-only leg, just one repeated stage takes place entirely on gravel with two repeated stages using a mixture of gravel and asphalt as a means of increasing the challenge for the drivers and raising the spectacle for the thousands of fans following the action.
But it’s the sweeping race circuit-style asphalt roads that characterise this event that will once again dominate the competitive route. To be quick, drivers must maximise their pace through the high-speed turns by taking the optimum line at all times.
RallyRACC is always a hit with the fans, with the home spectators set to come out in force to cheer on their hero, the MINI WRC Team driver Dani Sordo. Spectators from abroad also descend on the event in great number.
New for 2011
Several changes have been made for this year’s rally, starting with an all-new test, Pesells, to kick off the action on day one. Measuring 25.74 kilometres, the fast and twisty stage boasts an excellent compact surface. Friday’s itinerary also features a night stage, Les Garrigues. Changes have also been made to Saturday with El Priorat extended by 3.93 kilometres in length, while two new stages, Riba-roja d’Ebre and Punta de les Torres will also feature. The main change for Sunday is the inclusion of the Power Stage, a 4.32-kilometre run called Coll de la Teixeta.