The organisers of the Rovaniemi-based event completed another recce of the Arctic Circle roads late last week and were delighted with what they found ahead of Friday afternoon’s start.
Clerk of the course Kai Tarkiainen said: “The stages are all in very, very good condition. The road surface is hard-packed snow with solid snowbanks. Beneath the snow, there’s always a little bit of water in the gravel and that’s frozen solid to make for a great base.
“There will be a small cleaning effect, but I don’t think the first car on the road should suffer in the way we see when they’re sweeping loose gravel aside on some of the summer’s hot rallies.”
This week the mercury in Rovaniemi dipped to below -15°C, although daytime figures are forecast to climb and hover around freezing for the latter part of the week and into the weekend.
Temperatures in the Lapland forests will be several degrees colder, with night time figures well below freezing everywhere. Snow is likely to fall until Wednesday evening.
“The conditions are really fantastic,” added Tarkiainen. “We were out on the stages in -20°C and lovely blue skies – it was so nice.
“The first stage was fantastic and it will provide a real challenge from the start. The road in this one is probably the most like Jyväskylä [the home of August’s Rally Finland]. It’s quite wide with a few crests so it’s going to be a fast and exciting start.”
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